By Tony Bouquot, general manager, Metal Building Manufacturers Association

Earning an Honorable Mention in Building Design+Construction’s 2020 Building Team Awards, the Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association (MBCEA) 2021 Building of the Year award and a Varco Pruden (VP) 2021 Hall of Fame award, Firehouse Ministries’ Firehouse Shelter is providing a place of respite and a pathway to permanent housing for homeless men in Birmingham, Ala.

The unique project was recognized for its incorporation of green building elements, aesthetics, user comfort and project execution on a challenging building site. A creative blend of horizontal ribbed insulated metal panels (IMP), windows and storefronts clads the 28,000 sq. ft. modern structure, and offers a comfortable, daylit space for the men to eat, rest and benefit from the facility’s addiction and literacy programs.

The IMPs seamless blend into a standing seam metal roof, gabled over the chapel, and slightly pitched in the other program areas.

Following the owner’s request for a durable, low maintenance building with an inviting, non-institutional feel, Birmingham architect Pool & Company chose a metal building. The pre-engineered metal building was a better fit for the owner’s budget while still offering great aesthetics, explained Craig Fowler, Project Manager/Estimator with Dunn Building in a MBCEA Building of the Year Firehouse Shelter video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ambD8GEj2-4.

Completed in just over a year, the shelter was able to relocate from an old fire station to a welcoming, energy efficient, practical and aesthetically pleasing new facility.

As stated by an MBCEA awards judge, “the overall attitude and relaxed formality addresses the ‘human scale’. The building feels very approachable, and while it may appear a bit ‘Spartan’, it does not feel at all cold. It has a pleasant street-scape and understated interior courtyard. The nuanced imagery of the vaulted gathering space is not without notice and very much in keeping with the ministerial outreach message.”

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