OPN Architects wins prestigious national award for Marion Fire Station design

Facility has received numerous international awards since opening in August 2021

Marion Fire Station OPN design award 1
Marion Fire Station No. 1. CREDIT OPN ARCHITECTS

OPN Architects, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, has received a 2024 Architecture Honor Award by the American Institute of Architects for the firm’s design of Marion Fire Station No. 1.

The annual AIA Architecture Award is the most prestigious design award presented by the country’s largest, most influential network of architects and design professionals, according to a release. The award celebrates the best contemporary architecture regardless of budget, size, style, or type.

OPN Architects is one of just three Iowa-based firms to win the AIA Architecture Honor Award since the award was founded. Only one other fire station has won the award in its 85-year history.

OPN was challenged by the city of Marion to design a station incorporating biophilic design to reduce PTSD in firefighters.

The station at 100 Irish Drive in Marion, which opened in August 2021, reduces response time, establishes a strong and transparent civic presence, and supports firefighters’ physical and mental wellness, OPN leaders said.

“While this project represents what’s possible when there is a pure vision for success, its real importance lies in the foundation it provides for future fire station design, and the continued focus on mental and physical well-being,” said David Sorg, OPN principal and the station’s lead designer. “We are humbled by this honor and hope to continue the dialogue on how a focus on fire fighters mental and physical health achieved through Biophilic Design Principles, can create a healthy building that will help enhance the lives of the fire fighters, reduce response times, and ultimately save lives.”

Marion Fire Station OPN design award 2
Marion Fire Station No. 1 incorporates biophilic design to reduce PTST among firefighters. CREDIT OPN ARCHITECTS

The OPN Architects design of the Marion fire station has been recognized with numerous international awards, including the 2023 Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award; first place in the Public Building (Built) category from the 2023 Rethinking The Future Awards, the Government Building of the Year in the 2023 Archello Awards; and a Special Mention in the 2023 Architizer A+ Awards.

The station also received an Honor Award from the AIA Justice Facilities Review Award in 2023. It was the second fire station to win the award. The first, the Madison Fire Station No. 14, was also designed by OPN Architects and won the award in 2020.

Other AIA local and regional chapter awards for Marion Fire Station No. 1 include:

Marion Fire Station No.1 from OPN Architects on Vimeo.

The fire station was featured in the March 2023 Issue of “Architectural Record,” and has been published in “Contemporary Architecture: Masterpieces around the World” (Braun, 2022). It was also featured in the second edition of Terrapin Bright Green’s “The Economics of Biophilia” (2024).

OPN Architects is a regional design firm with more than 115 designers in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.