A major redevelopment of Ford's Dearborn campus in Michigan is set to see it become greener, more high-tech and better at fostering innovation. Ford says the 10-year project will both reflect and aid its increasing focus on mobility as well as its continued car manufacturing operations.
"As we transition to an auto and a mobility company, we're investing in our people and the tools they use to deliver our vision," says company president and CEO Mark Fields. "Bringing our teams together in an open, collaborative environment will make our employees' lives better, speed decision-making and deliver results for both our core and emerging businesses."
Currently, 30,000 workers at Dearborn are spread across around 70 buildings, including the current Ford Research and Engineering Center Campus, which houses 12,000 employees, and the current Ford World Headquarters building. The new layout, designed by SmithGroupJJR, will see those workers moved into two new main campuses linked by a central green area, aimed at complementing the Ford's recently opened facility in Palo Alto, California.
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The Ford Research and Engineering Center Campus will be developed into a new product campus, designed to accommodate 24,000 people, with 4.5 million sq ft (418,000 sq m) of floor space. This will include a new 700,000-sq ft (65,000 sq m) Design Center and workspaces designed to foster collaboration. Employees will be able to get around using autonomous vehicles, on-demand shuttles and e-bikes, or via the walking trails, bike paths and covered walkways that will link the campus.
The planned redevelopment of the World Headquarters facility will retain what Ford describes as the "iconic image of the building" and will provide 1.3 million sq ft (121,000 sq m) of reworked space that the firm hopes will form "a more cohesive, employee-friendly campus." In addition, there will be improved connectivity, walkways, covered parking decks and outdoor recreation facilities.
The new facilities are said to have been inspired by those of tech companies and universities. In addition, the designs draw upon the WELL Building Standard, which is aimed at improving the wellbeing of employees based on air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mental and emotional health.
Collaborative work areas will be spread throughout the campuses and there will be more private spaces than before, offering individuals more choice about where to work on different tasks. Workspaces will be filled with more natural light and sit-stand desks will help to combat the sedentary office lifestyle.
The designs have sought to provide at least one conference and meeting space for every seven employees, and there will be a variety of indoor and outdoor cafes equipped with Wi-Fi. On-site fitness centers and healthy dining options are also planned.
"We are taking a holistic approach when integrating employee wellness into work environments," explains chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Land Development Corporation Donna Inch. "We realize people are our greatest asset, and we are putting them at the heart of our workplace design to create healthy, happy work environments."
Sustainability has also been central to the design of the new campus, with a Sustainability Showcase building planned that will produce more energy than it consumes. The building is designed to achieve the rigorous Living Building Challenge environmental standard and to be net zero-waste, net zero-energy and net zero-water. It will feature solar power generation and geothermal heating and cooling.
There will be other sustainability features throughout the facilities, such as new glazing systems, state-of-the-art lighting and high-performance energy systems incorporating daylighting, solar orientation, natural airflow ventilation and heat recovery. Water use is expected to be reduced through the use of lower-flow fixtures, metering and process enhancements, while a stormwater management system will capture, clean and reduce run-off. The greener site, meanwhile, will help with rain retention. All new construction is expected to meet LEED Gold certification, which provides a framework for the green construction and operation of buildings.
Ford says it hopes the redevelopment will help it to continue investing in its automotive business, while also developing its emergent mobility offerings. Construction of the new product campus begins this month and is expected to be complete by 2023. Work on the world headquarters campus is expected to begin in 2021 and be complete by 2026.
The animation below shows how the redevelopment will take place.