H2M architects + engineers’ (H2M) Setauket Fire Department Headquarters Building project recently received recognition from three noteworthy organizations; including a Silver Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) New York competition, a Bronze Award from the Fire Industry Education Resource Organization (F.I.E.R.O.) design competition, and a Gold Award from Firehouse Station Design Awards.
ABOUT ACEC NEW YORK:
ACEC New York is a proactive coalition of almost 300 firms representing every discipline of engineering related to the built environment – civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, environmental, geotechnical – and affiliated companies. The yearly Engineering Excellence Awards are presented to projects that encompass both the public and private sector in various categories. Each year, over 60 member firms submit their projects and are judged on a rigorous set of criteria which includes complexity, innovation, and value to society.
F.I.E.R.O. is a non-profit organization which operates under the guidance of an all-volunteer Board of Directors comprised of members with a rich history in the fire service. F.I.E.R.O. exists to improve firefighter health and safety and accomplishes this through educational conferences, workshops, and participation on research projects. In 2001, recognizing that there weren’t proper resources for clients to educate themselves in fire station design, F.I.E.R.O. created an annual design symposium providing fire station design education and exposure utilizing experts in fire station design and fire service.
ABOUT FIREHOUSE STATION DESIGN AWARDS:
Firehouse Magazine provides lessons learned, new technology, strategy, and tactics to educate and inspire those within the fire service and industry. The Station Design Awards is a program through the magazine that allows for fire departments, municipalities, and communities, as well as architects to showcase public safety buildings in which they’ve taken great pride. For architects, the awards program is a way to have outstanding efforts and projects recognized by peers and the responders in the fire service.
ABOUT THE PROJECT:
The Setauket Fire Department’s Headquarters Building was built in the 1930s and is nestled in the historic district of Setauket. While the Volunteer Fire Department had been operating out of this existing station for close to 90 years, spatial limitations, safety concerns, and deterioration would make it difficult to accommodate the new growth of the community and Department.
For over a decade, the District’s proposals for a renovated firehouse were rejected due to a lack of community input. In the early 2010s, the District engaged the community to be involved in the design, learning that maintaining the historic aesthetics of the exterior was a top priority for most people.
Designing this renovation would prove to be very challenging. In order to maintain the Department’s operations during construction, we had to design a project to be built in phases. Furthermore, the response path from exiting out to Main Street had to be changed to exit out to Old Town Road, which meant the design needed to incorporate varying floor elevations that not only tied the existing facility together, but responded to the site constraints.
After two phases of construction, an existing portion of the building encapsulated by brick from the original exterior remains intact through the interior of the building. This brick is a reminder of the past and a bridge to the future, incorporating the old and new, highlighting the Department’s commitment to the community and their 110 years of service.
The final design is a 25,950 square foot, two-story facility incorporating sustainable materials and comprised of new apparatus bays, training props, bunk rooms, administrative offices, conference rooms, training room, a community meeting room, community memorial plaza, and a main corridor that pays respect to the Department’s history.