Snøhetta has unveiled Ford Motor Company’s new Central Campus Building as part of the transformation of its Research & Engineering (R&E) Campus in Dearborn, Michigan.
Supporting Ford’s novel hybrid work-from-home model, the Central Campus Building aims to be a resource giving employees a place to come together and facilitate the easy flow and circulation of ideas.
The building is the result of Ford’s three-year research and planning process, created with Snøhetta as the design architect, IBI Group as the architect of record, Ghafari as the engineer of record, and Arup leading sustainability and engineering.
The building was designed as a new model for an interconnected and resilient workplace of the future, Snøhetta said in a press release. The concept of the building and the surrounding landscape centers on creating opportunities for health, collaboration, co-location, and product innovation. Bringing together a technologically advanced workplace with productive landscapes, the Central Campus Building will open to the public realm and connect to local mobility networks.
Architecture of innovation
The Central Campus Building will be a workplace and resource for approximately 6400 employees from Ford’s many disciplines, including design and engineering. The employees will be able to gather in a state-of-the-art facility combining active and social amenity spaces, collaborative workplace, and innovative programs. These functions are dispersed throughout the building and extend to exterior spaces, making work visible and fostering an inclusive workplace.
The project provides access to daylight and views outside the building and across the campus. Simultaneously, the Central Campus Building will function as a workplace that brings people together, optimizing team adjacencies, balancing individual and collaborative workspaces, centralizing equipment and services, integrating technology, and streamlining the movement of people and products.
The building will include amenities, offices, design studios, fabrication shops, laboratories, and courtyards as a network to create proximity between people and product, allowing teams and individual employees to seamlessly interact. The concept design of the building centers on functional spaces like the design studios. These become the building blocks for size and performance needs. The building secures and centralizes product movement while distributing intuitive and effective horizontal and vertical paths of travel.
Site and ecology
From plazas and courtyards to paths and gardens, the campus landscape is designed to adapt to diurnal, seasonal, climatic and social change by immersing users in textured, colorful, and fragrant environments evolving over time. These landscapes, while each aesthetically unique, are also productive—at times an extension of the indoor workplace, a habitat, a horticultural amenity, and a set of programmed places for the Ford community to engage with each other and natural systems.
The compact footprint of the Central Campus Building, combined with reduced parking footprints, will reduce impervious surfaces and provide the opportunity to expand and showcase native planting areas, creative stormwater management, and experiential gardens and plazas as an integral part of the experience. Recognizing the link between mental wellbeing and access to the natural world, workplace areas are characterized by strong indoor-outdoor relationships.
Reimagining the future workplace
The Central Campus Building will integrate an interconnected network of cross disciplinary teams working together around a product line within physical and visual proximity. Based on a simple plan with interstitial courtyards, the building will create connections across floors, opening to daylight and minimizing travel distances while connecting employees.
The new workplace will allow for expansion and contraction of shifting teams horizontally or vertically across floors of various widths. From the Central Campus Building’s interiors to its exterior façades and diverse landscapes, the project was designed to express movement. Freedom of innovation and freedom of movement are interrelated concepts, and the design and engineering of the Central Campus Building combines both, Snøhetta said.