Sometimes a successful project requires a brave and open-minded client, particularly when the project has an incredibly restrictive budget. The design team approached the client with a message of maximizing the $1.3M budget with a simple, yet dramatic, design approach, while also being more sustainable and environmentally responsible. By leaving the building’s structure of pre-cast concrete tees, the design solution could still achieve energy performance levels above and beyond that required for code compliance, as well as breathe a new 50-year life-span into an existing building and avoid unnecessary waste. Utilizing the building’s pre-cast concrete tee structure, the design team developed a cost-effective cladding strategy that created texture, depth and movement. To further establish the building with the SLC Fire Department identity, the Design Team painted the cladding “fire engine red” and treated the existing building shell with a muted grey paint as a backdrop to both the dynamic cladding and a new water-conscious landscape scheme.
As an administrative and recruit training center, the Department’s programmatic requirements were simple: a handful of private offices, a small, collaborative work space, two recruit training rooms, a small break room, a conference space and the apparatus bay used for training. Working with the structural limitations of the concrete tee structure, the design team lengthened existing window locations and strategically carved new openings working with the new office layout and allowing more natural light to enter the shared work spaces.
The cost effective adaptive reuse has provided SLCFD a modern and functional Training Center that is both a nod to the past and a vision to the future on what sustainable design can look like when creative ideas are entertained. Construction was completed early 2020.
2021 Honor Award, AIA Utah
Photography credit: Winquist Photography