Somewhere to exercise - and relax

Compliance isn’t always linked to building regulations – at least not directly. In the case of the fire station at Charleroi, Belgium, the firemen in active service need to achieve a certain level of fitness. They are on site and on call for up to three days at a stretch. So, they need somewhere to exercise and somewhere to relax.

The project's chief architect, Philippe Samyn, calls the fire station “... A real village with sleeping rooms, living rooms, a big sports hall and a roof garden where the firemen can eat and grow vegetables.” And because the fire station is cricular in plan, the running track on the roof is infinite.

But it’s not all downtime. Firemen also need to be adept at climbing ladders and stairwells,often with a person slung over their shoulder. So Samyn proposed a tower with a stairwell running through its core and a series of ladders bolted to its exterior. There is even the option of attaching a cable from the tower to a discreet hatch built into the parade ground so that the firemen can practice leaving a building on a zip wire.

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