Donald L. Collins, Emeritus Professor of Planning and Landscape Architecture in the 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 disciplines or in new fields.
Collins 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.
Collins 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 often would stay at fire stations. The discussions that ensued during these stayovers led to insights about fire station design that he applies in his present-day 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 U.S. and Canada have been placed online with his input.
He has successfully advocated for training rooms that double as community meeting rooms at fire stations in Clemson; Santa Monica, California; and Ankeny, Iowa. He has also been an advocate for fire stations that address firefighter welfare issues of physical and mental health and occupational safety.. One such example is his insistence that all fitness rooms be placed in high-traffic areas with plenty of opportunity to see into the room because there have been firefighter deaths resulting from solo workouts in isolated fitness areas.
Seven of the 15 fire station designs in which Collins was involved have won design awards. His Brandon, Manitoba, fire station, designed in conjunction with George Cibinel of Cibinel Architects Ltd., has been ranked among the world’s greatest fire stations.