Historic Buildings are usually grandfathered in when it comes to building codes. Therefore, fire and smoke protection is usually lacking greatly. That being said, if major renovations are planned there will be the expectation to meet current building codes.
Fire and smoke safety are incredibly important when it comes to building design. From deployable curtains to rolling steel fire doors, there are a lot of options out there to fit your needs for fire safety. Design, however, is another story.