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2022 Emeritus College Research and Scholarship Recipient: Donald L. Collins

October 5, 2022

Professor Emeritus of Planning and Landscape Architecture

Donald L. Collins, Emeritus Professor in Planning and Landscape Architecture, College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities was selected as the 2022 Emeritus College Research and Scholarship Award recipient.  The award was established by the Emeritus College to recognize emeritus faculty members who continue to produce extraordinary research and scholarship, either in their discipline or in a new field.

Don retired in 2005, but that has not kept him from contributing to his field in unique ways.  He has carved out an applied research niche advising architects and fire departments on the design of fire stations.

Don is from a family of professional firefighters so when the invitation was extended early in his academic career, it was natural for him to become a member of the Clemson University Fire Department. When traveling on university business he would often stay at fire stations.  The discussions that would ensue during these stayovers frequently lead to insights about fire station design that he applies in his present-day design advisory role.

Since his retirement, he has participated in 21 fire station related projects ranging from assessment studies to schematic designs and construction documents.  Fifteen new fire stations in the US and Canada have been placed online with his input.

Fire station designs that Don has encouraged embody elements that are unique to the requirements of each site, space needs program and fire department. Don has successfully advocated for training rooms that double as community meeting rooms for stations in Clemson, SC, Santa Monica, CA and Ankeny, IA. He has also been an advocate for fire stations that address firefighter welfare issues of physical and mental health and occupational safety at the station.  One such example of this is his insistence that all Fitness Rooms be placed in a high-traffic area with plenty of opportunity to see into the room because there have been firefighter deaths resulting from solo physical fitness workouts in an isolated fitness area.

Seven of the 15 fire station designs in which Don was engaged have won design awards.  These include state AIA, Firehouse Magazine, and the Fire Industry Education Resource Organization’s Fire Facilities Design Awards Program.  Don’s Brandon, Manitoba fire station, designed in conjunction with George Cibinel of Cibinel Architects, Ltd. has been ranked by one writer as among the world’s greatest fire stations.

The Emeritus College congratulates Don Collin on being the 2022 Emeritus College Research and Scholarship Award.