Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Public Safety Answering Center II (PSAC II) in the Bronx

Wall Street Journal – "The Best Architecture of 2017: Buildings of Quiet Ambition"

"In the Bronx, a new 911 emergency call center designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is a cube-shaped fortress of shimmery recycled aluminum serrated to catch light and nestled into a sloping landscaped berm. Basically a stronghold slotted with only a few strategically placed windows, the Public Safety Answering Center II, or PSAC II (an older one is located in Brooklyn), is the most technically advanced building owned by New York City. Here is where the police and fire departments coordinate emergency responses and it has been organized with keen sensitivity both to intense security requirements and the highly stressful nature of the work, featuring not only a generator capable of supplying uninterruptible power but also workstations that can be customized for sitting or standing. Workers get no views, but the ceilings are high, the indirect light is ample, and a plant-filled green wall freshens the air. Attention has been paid as well to the forces’ different customs: The police prefer bright lights and shared TV monitors; the fire department wanted a dimmer ambience and more individual screens (two or three per desk).

PSAC II will handle over 10 million emergency calls a year, but for drivers passing it on the Hutchinson River Parkway at dawn or dusk, this 450,000-square-foot monolith looks more like a pink-purple mirage gentled by a waving sea of grass."

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