Holyoke Police Station - Holyoke Massachusetts



The site for the new Police Building provided an opportunity to construct a southerly closure to Holyoke Heritage State Park. Viewed from the park the Police Building strikes a balance between Holyoke's 19th century mill buildings and a modern brick courthouse with a monolithic windowless facade. The brick exterior and fenestration are organized much like the rugged mill buildings that range along the nearby canal. The base of the building is rendered with economic strips of rock face granite capped with a limestone window ledge. The public stair disrupts the base and piers rise through a grid of glass to support the porcelain-enameled cornice. The brick volumes are sharply defined and the detailing is limited to a few areas. The jack arch at the public entry projects to form a web of light and shade. The closed "windows" at the cell block are signified by brick "zippers." The building conveys civic importance without a fortress appearance. The design is sympathetic to the original two police buildings and employs the exterior materials of their construction allowing the contemporary American design to mediate with Holyoke's historic architecture.
The plan of the 38,000 square foot building comprises a main 60' x 120' three story block on the corner facing the park, a 60' x 120' two story prisoner and accessory police function area along the secondary street to the south, and a 40' x 60' connecting core with mechanical rooms in the basement. Budgetary constraints relegated future police space needs to later construction and the design and building structure anticipate completion of the southerly second floor in the future.
The plan is developed both horizontally and vertically to accommodate and separate three distinct populations: the public, the police, and the prisoners. Each has a separate entrance and circulation path within the building. These groups, with their different and often conflicting requirements, come in contact only tangentially for specific purposes.
The public entrance is opposite the park and scaled to the open space. A majority of the public needs are accommodated on the first floor off the public lobby. Administration, detective bureau, and crime prevention bureau are accessed by the public elevator and stair. Public access to the third floor is limited to evidence pick-up. The police entrance on the west facade is modest and discrete. The police elevator and stair limit access to the secure areas of the building Lockers, showers, evidence processing and storage are placed on a third floor. Prisoners enter the building through a secure sally port on the east side hidden from street view. Prisoner processing and detention is contained in a secure windowless first floor area. All public, police, and prisoner areas are handicapped accessible.
The project received a Honor Award for design excellence from the Western Massachusetts Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.