Ford’s Research and Innovation Center Reflects the Unique Ecosystem of Silicon Valley

Furthering its resolution to become “the leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics,” Ford has deepened its investment in Palo Alto, by having HED (Harley Ellis Devereaux) renovate two previously vacant buildings to significantly expand its existing Research and Innovation Center.

Informal lounge spaces and collaborative zones provide opportunities for spontaneous interaction, fostering the interdisciplinary cross-pollination that sparks creativity and discovery.

With its opening, the newly expanded Research and Innovation Center doubled Ford’s Palo Alto workforce and created more than five times the square footage of the original campus. Today, it stands as yet another powerful signifier of Ford’s commitment to advance—and lead—the smart mobility market.

The interior architecture parallels the relationship-building ecosystem of Silicon Valley itself, where start-ups, incubators, universities, and investors comingle with tech leaders and corporate giants.

The expansion more than doubles Ford’s existing Palo Alto workforce and increases square footage from 30,000 to 150,000 square feet.

When was the project completed?
2018

HED’s sixty-year relationship with Ford, deep automotive experience, expertise in innovative research environments and Detroit and San Francisco office locations uniquely positioned our team for the role.

How much space (SF)?
150,000 GSF (two 75,000 GSF buildings)

Was this new or renovated space?
Renovated

A bright, open floor plan removes visual as well as ideological barriers and unifies engineers, designers, researchers, and scientists.

How many employees?
Designed for approximately 450

Describe workspace types.
There is a mix of spaces including open offices, enclosed offices, and other spaces.

Integrating laboratories into the workplace design allows for seamless “desk-to-testing” development and weaves research into the office fabric.

What kind of meeting spaces are provided?
Conference rooms, break areas, and others

Has the project achieved any special certifications?
LEED Silver is being pursued

Was there any emphasis or requirements on programming for health and wellbeing initiatives for employees?
Every office and conference space have daylight and access to views. VOC levels were addressed and other indoor air quality topics. There is also a wellness room, and a mother’s room (required by CA code).

Were there any special or unusual construction materials or techniques employed in the project?
To expedite construction, the team used DIRTT walls (glazed and non-glazed), a pre-manufactured construction system. The team used Tate access flooring throughout the building, primarily their concrete tiles.

The interior architecture parallels the relationship-building ecosystem of Silicon Valley itself, where start-ups, incubators, universities, and investors comingle with tech leaders and corporate giants.

What products or service solutions are making the biggest impact in your space?
The furniture system is by One Workplace.

The DIRTT walls are considered a furniture system.

Amenity spaces include food for employees.

What kind of branding elements were incorporated into the design?
Signage and branded objects are on display throughout the project.

What is the most unique feature of the new space?
The auditorium is one of the unique features: It is designed so that you can drive a car into it for display. It’s also set up for partition into two spaces for public events and private events.

Every office space and conference spaces have daylight and access to views.

Are there any furnishings or spaces specifically included to promote wellness/wellbeing?
Adjustable height desks

What kinds of technology products were used?
Distance collaboration technology was an important feature for this workspace (for connection to Detroit offices and teams all around the world).

Biophilia was incorporated into the space in an effort to promote wellness

Tell us more!
Architect: HED (Harley Ellis Devereaux)
Contractor: XL Construction
MEP Engineer: Mazzetti
Structural: Paradigm
Civil: Kier & Wright

Photography courtesy of HED (Harley Ellis Devereaux)

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