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Ford Experience Center Wins AIA Michigan Honor Award

Ford Experience Center Wins AIA Michigan Honor Award

The Ghafari-designed Ford Experience Center received an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Michigan chapter on June 16. AIA Michigan’s annual awards program honors exemplary projects within the industry. The Ford Experience Center was one of four projects recognized in the building awards category.

The Ford Experience Center – a collaboration between Ghafari and Ford Environments – involved the complete transformation of Ford’s 95,000 SF, two-story main events facility in Dearborn, Michigan, a previously dark and uninviting concrete structure. Ford’s leaders envisioned a dynamic hospitality-inspired hub for employees, car dealers, and major customers that offers flexible event spaces, conference rooms, a café, and hot-desking, plus an on-site design lab.

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The design of the space is centered around a hospitality experience that is interactive and engaging – allowing its visitors to see and sense where Ford was yesterday, is today, and is heading tomorrow. The space is adaptable and production-ready to accommodate a wide variety of events for company partners and talent alike.

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The transformation of the facility re-skinned the façade with electrochromic glass that brings ample light to the interior but can also tint for shade. With a sharp focus on human wellness, the design incorporates two green walls in the café, called the Hive, and ensures that even enclosed rooms have natural light and views of the surrounding lawns. Terraces allow for events to flow outdoors, and the central corridor aligns with the front door of the Henry Ford Museum.

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In the central forum, polished white-terrazzo flooring and oak stadium seating form a timeless backdrop for what is in fact a high-tech, production-ready space. At the touch of a button, the lighting can change to suit a cocktail party, presentation, or launch event, and cars rotate on a turntable in the floor. Overhead, a sculpted white ceiling of acoustical plaster conceals lighting and mechanical systems with cuts that mirror the lines in the terrazzo floor.

The AIA Michigan Honor Award is especially timely as Ford celebrates their 120th anniversary. Ghafari is proud of our longstanding partnership, which spans the entire 41 years of our history.

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Photos: Garrett Rowland

Partners: Ford Land, Illuminart, Farmboy, Denn-Co Construction, GANAS, Navy Island, Devon Industrial Group