USFS SMOKEJUMPERS TRAINING CENTER
A Place for Learning and Saving Natural Resources
More than 1 million acres of forests are affected by wildfires in the Pacific Northwest each year. Having trained firefighting staff is vital in protecting our forests and the people and property surrounding them. The Redmond Air Center (RAC) serves as a hub for regional training and wildland firefighting support in the Pacific Northwest. The Interagency Hotshots, the Redmond Smokejumpers, and the Pacific Northwest Training Center call RAC home. Due to the growth of the programs, USFS needed a new state-of-the-art training facility to serve its 1,000+ students per year. The USFS’ goals include a functional space that is low-maintenance, and designed sustainability to support their mission.
The building consists of space for two primary users with separate entrances – students and staff. The main entrance, for visitors and students, is accessed up a grand staircase with amphitheater seating for relaxing in between training. The lobby, which doubled as the student breakroom, is located adjacent to the training room. The staff has a private entrance directly to the office space with a conference room. The 2,132 SF training room is the focal point of the building. An operable partition allows the room to transform into two smaller spaces and built-in modern technology – video conferencing, a presentation system, a smartboard, and window shading controls – are integrated to create a state-of-the-art training facility.
The design is inspired by the outdoors, where wildland firefighters spend the majority of their time. Charred-wood wall panels used on the exterior are brought indoors and become a strong design aspect throughout. Filtered natural daylight mimics light in a forest and permeates through the building. The interior space is adorned with outdoor Forest Service photography. The roofs and the canopy are over-emphasized, like the parachute of a smokejumper, and create a spacious feeling indoors. The building is similar size and scale to the neighboring buildings and becomes a centerpiece of the campus.
U.S. Forest Service