McIntosh Poris Associates was responsible for the renovation and restoration of an existing 19th-Century wood timber and masonry building into a modern office for Ford Motor Company’s self-driving business unit. Originally planned for Buhl Sport Detroit, the building was purchased by Ford during construction to house Ford’s self-driving business unit and attract fresh talent as part of the company’s commitment to enhancing Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. McIntosh Poris Associate’s design concept was to bring back the building’s original form and retain as much of the historic character as possible while meeting Ford’s requirements.
The extensive renovation involved shoring up the walls and floors and refinishing the original timber beams and wood flooring. McIntosh Poris Associates installed expansive steel windows and glass floor-to-ceiling garage doors to maximize the permeation of natural light. Brick walls, high ceilings, and exposed structure invoke a simple and industrial warehouse feeling reflective of the previous use and original architecture. New elevators, stairs, and connections between previously separate spaces were critical, as Ford prioritized easy interaction among employees and teams. Open workspaces offer a flexible environment for collaboration while glass phone booths and meeting rooms allow for focused work and discussion. The design includes a ground-floor garage that houses Ford’s self-driving vehicles. A significant amount of roof area was converted into a terrace for Ford employees to use on a seasonal basis.