Zerega Avenue Emergency Medical Services Facility

The Zerega Avenue EMS project (Emergency Medical Services – an ambulance dispatch and maintenance facility) was commissioned by New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, whose NYC 2030 Plan for the greater metropolitan area forecasts a City responsible to its Citizens and to the Environment.

The project’s site, located in an underserved neighbourhood (a once abandoned lot), shares the district with low-rise industrial and manufacturing warehouses, faceless high-rise low-income housing project towers, and the polluted Westchester River.

The new facility brings sorely needed emergency services to the Community and, by design, broadcasts an optimistic message; its green roof visible from street and the nearby high-rise residential “projects”, its translucent luminous polycarbonate skin transparent by day and beacon-like at night, and its welcoming cantilevered portico all portend a bright future for the neighbourhood.

Smaller urban city sponsored projects are often underfunded by government as they enjoy little visibility in the press.

Zerega was no exception to this rule; its small design and construction budget was cut by 30% after the 2008 recession.  Its compact plan, derived by the necessity of pedestrian access and vehicle service, and building section, shaped to minimize enclosed volume and associated energy requirements, were redesigned.  Governing authorities and user-groups, to insure the building’s suitability and economy, meticulously reviewed the revised building design.

The project’s construction contract cost matched the City’s reduced budget and the project is now complete and operational at the end of Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure.

Of the twenty-eight (28) projects commissioned by the City prior to the 2008 crash, only Zerega and one other have survived to see construction.  Zerega’s successful survival depended on an aggressively economical footprint and section, the use of ordinary materials and methods in an inventive way, and its demonstrated commitment to safeguarding the citizenry and the environment.

Zerega serves its role as an active and visible actor in the Community, broadcasting a curated, intelligent and well-crafted message to all.


Project Type


501 Zerega Avenue, Bronx, New York, 10473, United States

Related links


  • Smith-Miller+Hawkinson Architects
  • Smith-Miller+Hawkinson
  • Smith-Miller+Hawkinson