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Engine 37


Engine 37 is the oldest active City of Philadelphia firehouse. Built in 1894, and listed on Philadelphia’s Register of Historic Places, the building also lies within the Chestnut Hill National Historic District. Nicknamed the ‘tightest in the city,’ Engine 37’s existing bay doors were of insufficient width to accommodate modern apparatus, yet the historic arches could not be widened. This led to a renovation and expansion to help the facility meet state-of-the-art firefighting standards.

CBP Architects aligned the needs and desires of numerous stakeholders, designed a two-bay, single-story apparatus addition, coordinated a preservation strategy for the existing building, and developed a four-phase plan to accommodate continuous operations during construction. The new architecture is sympathetic to the historic building in scale and materials. A new front entry was designed within one of the original arched apparatus bay openings. A glass-enclosed watch room occurs in the separation between old and new structures. The new bi-folding apparatus bay doors were a first for the Fire Department, bringing faster operation and a better aesthetic than overhead doors. Preservation addressed waterproofing, masonry and structural repairs, and window replacement. Designed to LEED Silver Certification standards, the project adhered to energy, material, and water conservation practices. The renovated facility offers improved training and living spaces, a new central staircase that accesses all levels, and a renewed presence for the historically significant community landmark.

Engine 37 features a sculptural seating installation by artists Erica Ehrenbard and Jill Sablosky commissioned as part of the City of Philadelphia’s Percent for Art Program. Firefighters’ Arc is composed of a limestone bench with a central steel backrest meant to symbolize a folded hose. The artwork provides a comfortable respite for community members and firefighters between shifts.

  • Project Category

    Institutional, Civic & Commercial

  • Client

    City of Philadelphia Department of Public Property

  • Location

    Philadelphia, PA

  • Number of Stories


  • Gross Floor Area

    10,280 sf

  • Program

    New Apparatus Bays, Renovations to Historic Fire Station