Birmingham’s new Firehouse Ministries Shelter wins 2021 Building of the Year

Firehouse Ministries
A beautiful new building courtesy of Dunn Building Co. Photo via Firehouse Ministries

The Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association (MBCEA) has announced its winner for their 2021 Building of the Year, and it’s right here in Birmingham. Thanks to Dunn Building Co., The Firehouse Ministries new building was the well-deserved winner. Learn why this space took the number one spot and the incredible story behind what the ministry is doing in this space.

What is the MBCEA + how do they choose winners?

MBCEA was founded in 1968 with the goal to support the professional advancement of the metal buildings industry. Every year they pick a building of the year to showcase projects around the country. They pick their winner based on the following criteria:

  • Aesthetics
  • Complexity
  • Green building elements
  • Quality
  • Unusual or interesting features

The 2021 Building of the Year Award went to Dunn Building Co. in Birmingham. They served as general contractors for the Firehouse Ministries Shelter. The 28,000-square-foot space resides downtown.

2021 Winner: Firehouse Ministries Shelter

Firehouse Shelter
A view of the courtyard and outside of the shelter. Photo via Dunn Building Co.

The Firehouse Ministries is doing big things in the downtown Birmingham area. This organization provides food, shelter, clothes, literacy programs, and more to homeless men, ages 18 and older. Its mission is to break the cycle of homelessness by offering a nurturing environment with a host of supportive services.

The new shelter was built in response to the previous space being outdated and overfilled. The 5.8 million dollar space can accommodate more than double the amount of people, with over 100 beds for overnight guests.

Walk into this space and you’ll see beautiful building features, including an abundance of natural light due to large windows as well as a sleek metal exterior. The interior contains individual shower stalls, lockers and sectioned-off bedrooms

Firehouse Ministries Shelter works hard to provide an enviroment that is as comfortable as possible. Here are some other unique amenities they offer:

  • Disease control space
  • Family Housing
  • Medical Screening Rooms
  • Overflow space for winter
  • Chapel

This community space also features a courtyard. This allows the men to enjoy their meals in a private space, away from the street but near each other.

Insight on the project from Dunn Building Co.

Dunn Building Co.
Outside view of the new shelter. Photo via Dunn Building Co.

Dunn Building Co. tackled this project with complete control over design and building materials.

“Firehouse gave us some parameters of wanting it to feel contemporary and warm but also have an institutional feel, so it can withstand wear and tear.”

Luke Newell, VP at Dunn Building Co., Birmingham

They faced the challege that this building site was extremely small, and the building itself lies right on the edge of the property line on all sides. However, their clever design and sturdy building materials came together to make the perfect space. This not only won them Building of the Year but created an incredible shelter for Firehouse Ministires that will house people for many years to come.

Are you interested in the work the Firehouse Ministries is doing? Let us know how you get involved in out community by tagging us @bhamnow.

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Miranda Shaffer
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