Fire Hall From street view

Steveston Fire Hall No. 2


Richmond, BC

Emergency services personnel are society’s truest public servants and critical to the health, safety and resilience of the community. In many cases, these heroes’ efforts go largely unnoticed – hidden away in non-descript buildings that do little to foster civic pride or a sense of community. This replacement fire hall is an iconic gateway to the historic Steveston fishing community. This facility breaks the mold of traditional fire hall design and construction, and redefines a “home away from home” for firefighters who spend much of their lives on the job. 


Areas of impact

Red tinted window into a staircase

"The design provides a highly-efficient operational layout that allows our staff to quickly access dispatch information and then proceed directly to the vehicle and out onto the call more effectively. The design also focuses on living and learning spaces within the building, including educational and fitness areas located within close proximity to the emergency response vehicle I am very proud to have this new building in our City with its modern, clean, sustainable design."

William (John) McGowan, Fire Chief

Front of Fire Hall garage with firetruck coming out
Design Challenge

After extensive study, the City of Richmond decided to replace an aging fire hall which no longer met the needs of the community with a new, post-disaster facility. The building’s location at a prominent intersection offered us the opportunity to create an iconic structure that would mark the entrance to this historic community. Its orientation needed to allow the large fire trucks to quickly maneuver in and out of a tight site at a busy intersection. The fire hall’s transparent design engages the community with a view of its inner workings and supports a meaningful presence in the Richmond community.


When they decided to replace their aging fire hall, the City of Richmond sought to provide an iconic civic facility to mark the entry into the Steveston Community. The post-disaster facility also needed to achieve LEED Gold certification and include universal dormitories and washrooms.

Firefighters standing infront of the firehall
Creating connections for the fastest response times

Despite strict technical requirements for fire hall construction, we sought a fresh design approach to blend the firefighters’ work and living spaces. While most fire halls express a clear separation between the apparatus bays and living/support spaces, Steveston Fire Hall features a novel ribbon expression that holistically integrates day-to-day activities. Each program space is strategically organized to maximize visual connections. In an emergency situation, where every second counts, visual transparency and efficiency of circulation routes work together to achieve direct routes and quick response times.

Strict coordination of building services for a clean apparatus bay

Design excellence is particularly evident in the rigorous organization of the fire hall’s complex mechanical and electrical systems in the apparatus bays. Careful consideration and coordination of these systems with the exposed nail-laminated wood panels allows for an uncluttered space which, combined with an abundance of natural light, allows the simple, warm, material palette to shine.

Interior of fire hall garage

“Fire Rescue has numerous functional requirements and hcma has successfully balanced these requirements with a building that has a clean, modern architectural approach with a strong visual impact.”

Janet Whitehead, former Senior Project Manager, City of Richmond


Lieutenant Governor of BC Awards for Architecture - Merit 2015

City of Richmond Lulu Award for Urban Design - Institutional 2014

Canadian Wood WORKS! Awards 2012

Other Projects