SFO Airport Crash House & Fire Station

Location: San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California
Client: SFO FOM
Design Services: Architecture
Project Type: Airport, Fire Station
Project Size: 8,500 sf
Cost of Project: $1.5 Million
Project Team: Architecture – Group 4/Architecture (Robin Chiang as Principal Architect)
Structural Engineering – Forell & Elsesser

SFO Crash House

The “Crash House” at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is a specialized public safety building. It is primarily a fire station with apparatus bays and living quarters, but is located next to the airport runway for rapid response. Its location dictates special details such as soundproofing (to insulate against aircraft noise), taller equipment bays (to accommodate unusually large, self-contained emergency response vehicles), sturdier fenestration (in case of jet blast), and a dispatch room with panoramic views (to survey the airfield). Even the window glass has been angled to minimize glare and reflections. The design anticipates future expansion.

Because the building would be visible from the passenger terminals its appearance was a consideration from the start. Designer Robin Chiang & Company (RCC) worked closely with firefighters and airport staff to tailor the building to be efficient and versatile. This design was so well liked that it became the prototype for three additional public safety facilities at the airport.

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