Hoover Fire Station No. 11, designed by Adam Kent with Barrett Architecture Studio, recently received the Alabama Concrete Industries Association’s 2022 ‘Top Block Award’ which recognizes the exceptional use of concrete block in its design.
Hoover Fire Station No. 11 was a unique project in terms of project delivery. The architecture firm worked directly with Signature Homes to design and construct the fire station that was gifted to the city of Hoover after completion. The design process took a little more than five months to complete, with the construction phase lasting about 12 months.
The project integrates the fire station into the residential fabric. The design team worked together with the developer to use similar detailing and materials to better tie the project into the existing neighborhood. The use of brick, stone, and cementitious siding was both familiar to the contractors and to the surrounding neighbors.
The design was established around providing the firefighters the most efficient design possible. Everything was designed around the three-bay apparatus garage. “Seconds save lives” – by linking the living quarters, equipment rooms, and office to the apparatus bay, the firefighters get to the truck as fast as possible.
Concrete block was instrumental in the design of the apparatus bay, because this space requires a product that would stand up to heavy use and last for 50 plus years. Fire Stations are known for having long life spans to service their communities. The concrete block allowed the design team to have tall durable walls where the firefighters can train, wash trucks and reduce long-term maintenance.
“We used block for its longevity and durability, and also used the block wall as a fire rating, separating the apparatus bay from the living quarters,” said Kent.
“This was a simple solution that would protect the firefighters from any possible life safety issues that may arise from within the bay.”
Within the apparatus bay, the concrete block worked well because it was the most efficient use of a material. It provided the structural requirements for the apparatus bay, it was the most durable to hold up against heavy use, it provided a rated wall for life safety and the maintenance required compared to other materials will be reduced over the lifespan of the firehouse.
“Even as an adult, the fire engine is still one of my favorite emergency vehicles to see, and the apparatus bay is a simple design that shows off the fire engine,” stated Kent. The firefighters take pride in their trucks and being able to show the engine off night and day was a lot of fun to design around.”