Woods Bagot designs bespoke ‘city’ for Metropolitan Fire Brigade training facility
Utilising the best in design practice in order to save lives, Woods Bagot has designed a specialised firefighting facility for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB). Located on 18 hectares of greenfield site in Cragieburn, Melbourne, the new AUD 109 million facility has been designed to replicate Melbourne’s urban landscape.
A series of purpose built training props set within a streetscape environment will enable the fire fighters to train in realistic scenarios. Training props will include full-scale city and suburban buildings, a dock area with a ship, road, rail and tramway facilities and industrial buildings. Woods Bagot Associate Ben Haylock identifies this as "a design concept that has yet to be employed within Australia."
"This facility will improve training courses and produce more effective learning outcomes driven by the changing demands of firefighting in a major city," explains Ben.
Training in an environment representative of real situations provides an advanced training outcome to benefit all members of the fire brigade and in turn, the greater community.
Other emergency services agencies, including police, ambulance and rescue organisations will also benefit from the new firefighting training facility in singular or combined emergency service simulations.
"The project comprises two distinct precincts," says Woods Bagot Principal Harry Charalambous, "one being the academic precinct, and the other the practical learning environment. Each precinct is linked by a dedicated ring road and has been masterplanned by functional hierarchy of controlled security and elevating safety zones."
"The most important structures for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade are the various training buildings, or props, which are designed to be tough, realistic and highly functional. These props are also flexible and adaptable to suit rigorous and disciplined training scenarios,” says Harry.
Fundamentally, the design focuses on theoretical learning progressing to realistic practical training within a safe and controlled environment. The design provides for elements of fire, smoke, sound, physical barriers, simulated emergencies and a myriad of other challenges faced by firefighters during the course of their careers.
Based on a ‘City’ theme, the general layout of the facility is unique and introduces the third generation global model for a fire training facility.
"A contemporary, architecturally designed selection of burning, hazardous and collapsed buildings has been developed to provide a safe training area emulating a visually accurate city environment,” explains Harry.
Woods Bagot and MFB have partnered with Major Projects Victoria, fire services specialists HAAGEN and Leighton Contractors to develop the facility, which will include environmentally sound design initiatives to maximise sustainability.
Construction on the new MFB training facility is scheduled to start in coming months and set to be operational in 2014.
Select image to view larger.