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Mitchell Park fire station looks to iconic architectural style for inspiration

Original post made on Feb 20, 2023

More than a decade after Palo Alto agreed to replace the aged Mitchell Park fire station, the project is finally moving ahead. The city's Architectural Review Board on Thursday got its first look at the station's Eichler-style design.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 17, 2023, 12:14 PM

Comments (7)

Posted by Walter Underwood
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Feb 20, 2023 at 9:30 am

Walter Underwood is a registered user.

That is a lot of glass for a building that must be useful after an earthquake. What happens when those clerestory windows come crashing down into the bay with the fire engines?

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 21, 2023 at 12:53 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

I very much like that the design looks like an Eichler. However, I agree it must stay intact in case of a big earthquake!

Posted by marc665
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 21, 2023 at 2:53 pm

marc665 is a registered user.

In the 30 years we've lived here, Palo Alto has never completed any project on time, on budget.
The new bike bridge, Rinconada Fire Station, California Ave "improvements", Mitchell Park Library, and on and on

Instead of worrying about building some "iconic" stucture, how about a normal building that is done, on time, on budget?


Posted by larryncelia
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 21, 2023 at 7:22 pm

larryncelia is a registered user.

Was it Mr Baltay or the reporter who compared this design to Eichlers all the way over in Greenmeadow? There are many closer Eichler, including several just across the street on Middlefield, and of course the best Eichler neighborhood of them all, Los Arboles just a block down. I might be biased.

Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 22, 2023 at 1:47 pm

Local Resident is a registered user.

This project is specifically funded to make this fire station earthquake resistant. The current fire stations doors may not be able to open after a major earthquake. The San Andreas fault (6 miles from the firestation) can have up to a 8.0 magnitude. That’s what local critical infrastructure should be designed to withstand like the new Stanford hospital was. It does not appear that earthquake resistance was the architects primary design goal. Please ensure the design can withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake.

Posted by Resident11
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 22, 2023 at 5:57 pm

Resident11 is a registered user.

I agree that it looks too much like a residence and not enough like a fire station. I also agree that it should be robust. Hopefully there will be a Round 2 of design.

Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2023 at 1:00 pm

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

Please prioritize emergency preparedness for a worst-case scenario in planning this building. We appreciate efforts to create an attractive building that conforms with nearby architecture on this very visible corner lot, but let's not let that delay progress. It is time to get this project moving. Reliable emergency services are very important. The city has been adding hundreds of housing units in this area and plans to add thousands more with the draft Housing Element. The existing station is insufficient to house modern emergency and fire equipment that's needed to serve the taller, denser development.

Also, Cubberley is a seriously hot mess after 40 years of neglect--I'd describe it as blighted. We need a functional community center with adequate capacity to serve thousands of new residents, too.

Mr. Shikada, Mr. Lait and Ms. O'Kane, City Council, What is the plan for community services and transportation facilities for the lion's share of the state mandated new housing that the city plans to rezone for on San Antonio and Fabian and throughout south PA? We have been through planning processes in 2012 and 2019 for Cubberley and nothing has been done, even on the city's portion of the property to create functional space for community services we need there. The gym is now closed due to water intrusion. At minimum, if you are not going to redevelop this space, at least maintain it to keep it functional for community services. I don't think it has been painted in twenty or more years. Interior landscapes increasingly are littered with heaving asphalt, tree stumps and portable and prefab buildings and sheds that replace formerly functional rooms. When is something going to be done? Council members, if you haven't looked at it lately, please take a walking tour of Cubberley. Please note the mold, rust, peeling paint, dry rot, unfilled cracks, ubiquitous rat traps. This is not okay.

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