Space of the Week: A Firehouse, Revisited

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This handsome four-story firehouse, erected for Fire Patrol No. 3 in 1895, was one of three private firehouses that went up for auction in the late 2000s. Bernstein Real Estate bought this one (at 240 W. 30th St.), Anderson Cooper bought one in the Village, and the third firehouse that went on the market is in Harlem. The original details of the building’s Flemish-style façade are still intact and speak to a lost New York. Photo: Wendy Goodman

“The building had to be completely gutted,” Ripley explains. Here’s a photo of the second floor before de Cárdenas got to work. A New York Times story about the firehouse from 1895 reported: “[O]n the second floor are Capt. Vaughan’s private office and the sleeping quarters for the men, each of whom has a separate brass bedstead and a clothes closet. From this floor five sliding poles reach the floor below. A unique contrivance is a short sliding pole near the driver’s bed, which lands him on the seat of the wagon.” Photo: Courtesy of Black Ocean

“I wanted “Tom Ford meets high tech’ in a modern, industrial way, while still respecting the historic integrity of the building,” Ripley says of his design aesthetic. De Cárdenas installed dramatic zigzag fluorescent lighting that runs the length of each floor’s ceiling. His design program throughout the building includes conference rooms, communal open offices, private offices, and a lounge. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The lounge area at the rear of the main floor has carpeted built-in seating and stored wooden boxes that can be pulled out and used as flexible work surfaces. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The table and benches, designed by de Cárdenas, in the lounge are made from original floorboards from the firehouse. The doors lead out to the courtyard and back building. “There was not much left of the original space,” de Cárdenas says, “so this is one way we were able to recycle elements of the past within our design language.” Photo: Wendy Goodman

This little two-story back building, originally built for the horses’ feed rooms and a hayloft, calls up memories of the building’s past. De Cárdenas installed new windows and put down gravel and an ipe-wood deck in the courtyard. The room with the garage door is equipped with banquet seating. That same 1895 Times story reported: “Here are two large box stalls with a thick flooring of Irish peat, where the horses in turn are allowed a chance to recover from hard runs.” Note the iron ring set into the bricks on the left, which must have been used to secure those tired horses. Photo: Wendy Goodman

A fireman would know what this piece of equipment was used for. According to the Times piece: “On the first floor are accommodations for five horses and two patrol wagons, with improved apparatus, for quickly reaching fires.” Could this be an “improved apparatus”? Photo: Wendy Goodman

De Cárdenas designed the conference room on the fourth floor with steel and glass doors and a transom repeating the chevron motif he used throughout the building. “The chevron design is a simple interpretation of the Black Ocean logo in a graphic, patterned format,” de Cárdenas says. He designed the wood paneling and the new parquet floors that continue the chevron motif. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Here’s the fourth floor with the beautiful north-facing window, photographed during the renovations. This floor was originally used for a repair shop and as storage for the fire company. Photo: Courtesy of Black Ocean

This end of the fourth floor is now used for Ripley and Sardarov’s office. The original window is offset by an Achille Castiglioni light fixture. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The view from the loft space created by de Cárdenas in Ripley and Sardarov’s office. Photo: Wendy Goodman

What would a converted firehouse be without a pole? This one, in the corner of Ripley and Sardarov’s office, allows for a quick trip down to the desks from the loft. The pole came from another New York City firehouse and keeps the spirit of urgency alive”albeit in a whole new way. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Space of the Week: A Firehouse, Revisited