One can measure the success of any fire department by the courage and sacrifice made by each firefighter and by the sense of security felt by the community they serve. To help the firefighters carry out their 24/7 public service operation, their facilities need to be highly functional, durable, efficient, and comfortable. Additionally, the design of the structures needs to be timeless, well conceived, and provoke a sense of longevity. In the end, a firehouse should be a source of pride in the community.

Shelbyville Fire Station No. 2 is the second new fire station to be built by the City of Shelbyville in the past seven years. It is, however, the city’s first station built within a planned development that will include a mix of commercial, retail, and light industrial buildings. Additionally, the fire station required two main programmatic components: appropriate living quarters and an apparatus bay.

The biggest challenges faced by the architects were how to create the massing of the two components and the lack of existing context around the site. As the first building of the development—and sitting adjacent to additional undeveloped sites—the design had to employ unique, iconic forms in order to state its presence.

Brick became the clear choice for many reasons. First, it is a material that provides the longevity and durability a fire station needs in order to withstand the test of time. Second, unlimited brick detailing and design options allow it to blend well with other materials and fit into any future context. Finally, the brick creates a defined scale that relates the overall massing of the building to the firefighters who interact with it.

Designed and built off of the lessons learned from the city’s first station, Station No. 2 stands as an exemplary composition of civic architecture that uplifts the community in a positive way.

For more of Shelbyville Fire Station, see its feature article in Brick In Architecture.  It will also appear in the December issue of Architect magazine.