Not against Bond; against Fire!

Not against Bond; against Fire!

Feuerwehr Margreid

Don’t worry! This is not the house of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but just a fire station.

A mountain, rough rock and, dug into it, a cave guarded by a black reinforced concrete gate, adorned with the red sign of the group that must surely engage in some kind of conspiracy within these rocky walls. This sounds and actually looks like a secret military base or the hideout of some James Bond villain, semi-hidden in an impregnable fortress of rock and reinforced concrete. But this image could not be any farther from the truth. Because, firstly, these are the “good guys” and, secondly, from this base, fires are extinguished and not set. In truth, this is the fire station of the South Tyrolean municipality of Margreid.

Three Caverns                                          

I already described the outward appearance of the fire station, but some points should be rendered a bit more precisely to do justice to the architecture. The so-called “cave” is actually three caverns, which are connected to each other by a cross cut. Two of these caverns are the garages for the fire apparatus, whereas the third shelters the office and administration wing.


The entrances to the garages are framed in black-coated steel. They are blocked by triple glazing folding gates that, even when closed, allow a view of the red fire engines inside. Hence, no trace of secret conspiracies. The entrance to the administrative wing is glazed as well but shows the form of a two-storied cube.


The black concrete wall does not only serve as an aesthetic means for creating a special James Bond flair, but is also (or in truth) a protection against falling stones. The wall’s dark color is achieved by the application of beech coal dust, which is intended to remind of the same burned wood. So it is clearly rather an analogy of the fire brigade’s subject of labor than of the powers of darkness and death.

Sustainable Rock Building

The idea by bergmeisterwolf architekten to place the fire station inside of a mountain was based, among others, on two considerations regarding sustainability. Firstly, since building grounds are rare in the alpine context, the architects wanted to save these. Secondly, the fire station was supposed to be as energy-efficient as possible. Thus, by placing the station inside the rock, only one side of the building has to face the outdoor temperatures of minus ten degree centigrade in winter, whereas the rest along the rocky walls has to deal with only + 12°.

In addition, a dynamic simulation of the heat flow allowed for identifying those parts of the rock which were in need of additional insulation and those which were fine with only the natural rock temperature. The residual energy for heating and hot water is covered with a pellets heater system.

Cave Flair

In the interior, the architects went for a rather purist cave experience and kept the furnishings quite simple with timber, glass and steel. This, however, leaves even more space for the imagination of your inner cinema.

Project details


Completion: 2010


Area: 690 m²


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