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Organizational Change
Ford Designing New Campus to Drive Innovation and Collaboration, Invest in Employees

Ford Motor Company today announced plans to transform its Dearborn facilities into a modern, sustainable, high-tech campus to foster innovation and help drive the company’s transition beyond mere automaker to a mobility company.

The 10-year transformation of the company’s more than 60-year-old Dearborn facilities will co-locate 30,000 employees from 70 buildings today into primarily two locations — a product campus and a world headquarters campus. More than 7.5 million square feet of workspace will be rebuilt and upgraded into even more technology-enabled and connected facilities.

A walkable community with paths, trails and covered walkways, the product campus will include a new design center, autonomous vehicles, on-demand shuttles, eBikes, new onsite employee services, wireless connectivity speeds up to 10 times faster than today and more green spaces.

A second campus location — around the current Ford World Headquarters building — will feature a new Ford Credit facility and provide onsite employee services, improved connectivity and enhanced accessibility to the expansive green space that surrounds the building.

“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,” said Ford 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.”

Construction of the new product campus begins this month at the Ford Research and Engineering Center. The majority of work is expected to be complete by 2023. Major work on the second campus around Ford World Headquarters begins in 2021 and is expected to be complete in 2026.

A conceptual video of the product campus transformation can be viewed here.

Product Campus

The current Ford Research and Engineering Center Campus — dedicated by President Eisenhower in May 1953 — currently houses 12,000 employees. It is being transformed into a contemporary, innovative work environment to accommodate 24,000 employees in 4.5 million square feet of upgraded workspace.

Key features will include:

  • Connected facilities that will feature the latest wired and wireless hardware designed to last many years;
  • Workspaces that foster collaboration and spark innovation;
  • A central green area that will link buildings with walking trails, bike paths and covered walkways;
  • Energy-saving technologies, including geothermal heating and cooling, and
  • Water-saving technologies, such as rainwater capture and automated metering.

The campus also will serve as a pilot location for Ford Smart Mobility solutions, including autonomous vehicles, on-demand shuttles and eBikes to transport employees.

The all-new, more-than-700,000-square-foot Design Center will be the focal point of the campus and include new studios and an outdoor design courtyard. The historic 14,000-square-foot Ford Design Showroom will remain and be upgraded for use as an event venue.

Ford World Headquarters Campus

The current Ford World Headquarters building was dedicated in 1956 and reflects thought-leading architecture of that time. When campus renovation begins in 2021, care will be taken to retain the iconic image of the building while providing both exterior and interior enhancements.

The new campus will include:

  • More than 1.3 million square feet of reworked space;
  • A new Ford Credit facility connected to World Headquarters, forming a more cohesive, employee-friendly campus;
  • Improved connectivity, walkways, covered parking decks and outdoor recreation facilities, including softball and soccer fields, and
  • Enhanced green spaces with planted areas, native species and tree canopy, including the renewal of the Arjay Miller Arboretum started in 1960.

21st-Century Sustainability

Ford’s commitment to sustainability and innovation will be integrated throughout the project. This includes a net positive Sustainability Showcase building on the product campus, which will produce more energy than it consumes.

The new Sustainability Showcase aims to meet Living Building Challenge standards, the highest level of sustainability possible today. The net-zero waste, net-zero energy, net-zero water facility will include geothermal heating and cooling and generate renewable energy from the sun.

Throughout the two campuses, increased building insulation, new glazing systems, state-of-the-art lighting and daylighting, and heat recovery will reduce overall energy use in new buildings by approximately 50 percent annually. Overall potable water use will be significantly reduced through advanced water fixture selection, metering and process enhancements.

“Just as the Rouge manufacturing renovation completed in 2003 set a new standard for sustainability, we expect to do the same as we transform our campuses into a modern, efficient complex that enhances the environment,” said Bill Ford, Ford executive chairman. “This project incorporates thoughtful ways to improve the environmental footprint of our facilities, while creating a vibrant workplace that inspires our employees.”

Ford anticipates all renovated facilities on both campuses will achieve at a minimum LEED Silver certification. All new construction is planned to meet LEED Gold certification standards, including sustainable material selection and material ingredient transparency. The new buildings will have high-performance energy systems incorporating daylighting, solar orientation, natural airflow ventilation and heat recovery. An advanced storm water management system will capture, clean and reduce storm water run-off, while a greening of the site will include more planted areas and native species, a tree canopy and natural rain retention areas.

Campus Design

SmithGroupJJR designed the new campus layout, applying inspiration from tech companies and university campuses. Designs incorporate the seven concepts of the WELL Building Standard®, which look at how air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mental and emotional health impact employees.

From sit/stand desks and private spaces to indoor and outdoor cafes with Wi-Fi, employees will have plenty of choice, including at least one conference and meeting space for every seven employees. In addition, on-site fitness centers and more healthy dining options are planned.

“We are taking a holistic approach when integrating employee wellness into work environments,” said Donna Inch, chairman and CEO, Ford Motor Land Development Corporation. “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.”

When complete, Ford’s Dearborn campuses will complement the company’s state-of-the-art facility that opened in Palo Alto, California, last year. The company plans to apply best practices and space standards from the Dearborn campus project as it upgrades its other global office environments.

The company’s core auto business includes continuing to invest in designing, manufacturing, marketing, financing and servicing cars, SUVs, trucks and electrified vehicles. It also is pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and data and analytics.