Longboat Key Fire Station #92 Earns Two National Design Awards

Business

Firehouse Magazine—the nation’s leading firefighting publication—and The Architect’s Newspaper—a renowned design publication—recently announced Sweet Sparkman Architecture and Interiors as the recipient of two annual awards for Longboat Key Fire Station #92. Firehouse Magazine awarded Sweet Sparkman its Career Stations 2 Bronze award, while The Architect’s Newspaper awarded the design firm the Editor’s Pick commendation in its 2022 Best of Design Awards for the Civic category. Headed by Todd M. Sweet, AIA, LEED AP, Sweet Sparkman co-founder and partner, and Jenna Albers, AIA, NCARB, Project Manager and lead architect, the team behind the Longboat Key Fire Station #92 incorporated the latest in fire station design while achieving a stylistically stunning structure. “This project represents the pursuit of architecture’s highest ideals,” says Sweet, “it’s functional, resilient, and a visual landmark. ”Also involved in the project design were Elizabeth Lee, Associate AIA, Project Designer; and Shirley Quinlan, Interior Designer. Together, the team at Sweet Sparkman Architecture and Interiors collaborated closely with the Town of Longboat Key’s Fire Chief, Paul Dezzi, to ensure the final product met the emergency operation standards of the vulnerable barrier island. “Todd and his team came in early on in the process and did a thorough site assessment,” says Dezzi, “and when he gave a very compelling, honest presentation on their findings, it was an easy decision for our board and commission.” The early assessment yielded actionable design parameters for the firm, including site challenges like elevation. “Elevation is a critical component when you’re trying to design a building on a barrier island that’s only 3 feet above sea level,” says Sweet, “and it’s even more important to research the site considering the Fire Station serves as the base of operations for rescue and relief efforts following natural disasters like Hurricane Ian.” Other notable functional characteristics of the Fire Station are its cancer prevention strategies, which are focused on reducing a firefighter’s exposure to carcinogenic chemicals found in diesel exhaust and active fires. Diesel fumes are captured inside the apparatus bays, while firefighter equipment and PPE are corralled and cleaned in specialized rooms that are separate from the station’s living quarters. “Even as project costs fluctuated, Todd and his team found great solutions to keep these vital cancer prevention elements,” says Dezzi. Both inside and outside the station, the design team also found opportunities to make striking statements. “It was a real challenge keeping some of the bolder design elements incorporated while navigating the budget,” says Albers. But those challenges yielded the structure’s signature staggered aluminum-clad façade. The facade also reduces cooling costs while allowing natural light to filter into the main entrance. The visually appealing exterior complements the station’s public services, including a walk-in wound care facility and frequent community-wide health events.

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