Aaron Comstock Combines Interests in Architecture and Firefighting at FIREHOUSE Station Design Conference

Aaron Comstock is pictured standing behind two seated attendees at the conferenceWith the assistance of funding from the Taubman College Student Conference Travel Grant, Aaron Comstock, B.S. Arch ’23, M.Arch ’25, recently traveled to the FIREHOUSE Station Design Conference, which connects public safety officials, fire chiefs, police chiefs, project managers, and municipal managers who are actively involved in fire station and law enforcement design.

Comstock, who spent four years as a firefighter and EMT, recently worked with Dr. Upali Nanda, associate professor of practice in architecture, on a project aimed at making fire stations healthier for the firefighters that work there. When, in the process of that work, Comstock connected with an assistant fire chief in Colorado who recommended the conference, Comstock knew it would be a great opportunity.

He had the opportunity to sit in on the one-on-one sessions, where architects were paired with a fire department for an hour to offer a “second opinion” on their project. The fire departments were everywhere on the design spectrum, from considering building size to having full construction documents.

“It was incredibly informative because I got to see how the architect can plug into different spots throughout the design process, not just the beginning,” said Comstock.

He found his personal conversations with attendees and staff just as valuable. He was able to talk extensively with Janet Wilmoth, the conference director, to discuss fire station designs, his research, and the possibility of presenting at the conference in the future.

“From the director to the staff to the architects who presented the sessions, everyone was willing to have a nice, personable conversation about how they got to where they were and their passion: fire station design,” said Comstock.

He added, “The conference truly opened my eyes to the different fields and niche markets of architecture. There is an entire field for simply designing public safety buildings and fire stations. Any designer can truly merge their passions outside of architecture, no matter how different, and allow it to become a part of their designs and professional career.”

Aaron transferred to Taubman College from Delta College in the summer of 2021.