Ford’s Plan For Its Dearborn Research & Engineering Center Looks Like A Scandinavian Silicon Valley

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Ford’s Dearborn campus may be best known today for the so-called Glass House headquarters building or the “Salt and Pepper Shaker” office towers visible from the Southfield Freeway. 

But the automaker has ambitious plans to redevelop its Research and Engineering Center in Dearborn as a futuristic, walkable campus filled with modernist architecture and technology, and buzzing with pedestrians, electric bikes and scooters and, in the future, autonomous vehicles.

Ford today unveiled its master plan for the triangle-shaped campus, which sits across the street from The Henry Ford museum and is defined by Oakwood Boulevard, Snow Avenue and Rotunda Drive.

The company envisions the focal point being a new central campus building sitting on the site of what today is its 66-year-old Product Development Center. It anticipates housing more than 6,000 designers and vehicle development employees when it’s finished in 2025. 

Renderings show low-slung buildings with plenty of curving lines, exposed-wood materials, high ceilings and long banks of floor-to-ceiling windows connected by winding, landscaped paths that weave alongside and underneath the buildings. Ford says the campus of interconnected buildings could eventually house more than 20,000 employees in flexible, high-tech work space, up from around 11,000 today.

Ford acknowledges that the changes are geared in part at attracting world-class talent. It also says the changes are fully in line with what it’s doing at its Corktown campus in Detroit and its Ann Arbor robotics lab in creating more innovative and interactive work spaces to help speed decision making and product development. 

“From the Rouge to Highland Park in Detroit to Dagenham in the U.K., Ford has leveraged innovative workspaces and facilities to inspire our teams to invent the future,” Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett said in a release.

“Our vision for our Dearborn Research & Engineering campus – and our new Corktown campus and Ann Arbor robotics lab – will enable Ford to lead the next era of transportation and personal mobility, and help us continue our founding mission of driving human progress through the freedom of movement.”

What do you think about the new master plan and design?

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