Fort Bend Emergency Operations Center

Fort Bend County
Project Overview

New two-story building to provide emergency operations to Fort Bend County during times of distress and serves as a symbol of fortification during a natural disaster. The building exterior was designed with inspiration from lighthouses, a guiding symbol of permanence during a storm for ships.

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Project Description

FBEOC – Emergency Operations Center Fort Bend

Fort Bend County Judge George had an ambitious goal to create an Emergency Operations Center that serves as a “Beacon” for the surrounding community in times of extreme stress and crisis. This symbol needed to be designed with an innovative and forward-looking approach to allow for this building to create dialogue with the community. When FSG was given the opportunity to create this project, there was already a base design that consisted of a monolithic uniform block and small punctures for windows. There seemed to be no indication that this building would be an iconic “Beacon” for the community. With the goal of the judge in mind and as the passion for the project ignited, FSG developed the concept of the “Lighthouse”. A lighthouse is a symbol of permanence, security, and trust that often becomes the guiding element for ships during a storm. FSG took the challenge to modernize this symbol through architectural design.

First, the symbol of permanence is translated with architectural design through the use of materials such as large block masonry and fiber cement panels. The typical red accents of lighthouses were mimicked by the striped patterning of these materials along the entire exterior façade of the building. Second, the sense of security is established with a raised central roof element above the primary lobby. This physical beacon is highlighted with a break in the masonry façade for the grand entryway consisting of an aluminum glazing system, aluminum cladding, and a rooftop stainless steel lantern that is internally lit. The lantern can physically symbolize the focal point for the community and becomes a calling feature for those at far distances. Although there was some pushback for this part of the design by the city, FSG made great effort to assure the client’s goal was clear and adaptable.

From an interior standpoint, FSG created a centralized program around the main double-height gathering space (the EOC Operations hall). With this plan, the circulation from the lobby to any location in the building becomes intuitive and straight-forward. The supporting spaces such as MEP and storage are evenly spaced around this central core.

FS Group Architects was part of the entire design process of this project and developed the complete exterior façade of the building according to city and state emergency center code guidelines. Along with the architecture design, FS Group utilized BIM through Revit taking advantage of this tool to meet Fort Bend County requirements and their asset management needs. FS Group Architects will be providing On-Call Construction Phase Services during the development of this project.