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34 W. 51st Street



Architecture, exhibit and theater come together in this interactive space – which offers a multidisciplinary approach to creating a visceral learning experience about fire safety for children and their families.

The orientation space entices walk-in visitors with firehouse elements that are available for play and exploration. Visitor groups begin the 30-minute show surrounded by displays of firefighters’ personal gear, equipment, and interactive kiosks that encourage children to learn about the responsibilities of engine and truck companies. A firefighter facilitator cues the start of a simulated race to a fire. The group moves into the theater space, where the set, animated by sound, theatrical lighting and special effects, depicts fragments of domestic scenes. Projected videos allow visitors to hear fire survivors tell their stories. At the end of the multimedia presentation, the space “catches fire” and participants “evacuate” through a smoke-filled escape corridor, reassembling in the meeting place, where firefighters answer questions, distribute take-home material and offer FDNY merchandise for purchase.


AIA New York, Award for Excellence in Design, Interior Design category, 2004

Architectural Record/Business Week Design Competition, Finalist, 2004

AIA NYS, Citation for Design, 2004

Collaborators: Arnell Group, Graphic Design consultant; Dawn Chiang Lighting Design, Lighting consultant; Mediaworks, Mixed Media & Experimental Narrative; Roach Set Design, Exhibit and Set Design; Tom Morse Sound Design, Sound Design consultant; Jame Clark Chermayeff Associates, Program & Exhibition Planning and Development; S. DiGiacomo & Son, Inc, General Contractor; Peter Feller Precision Inc., Project Consultant.

Photos by Michael Moran