Text description provided by the architects. The design strategy for this office headquarters project for a solar power company in an historic Ford auto factory grew out of the multiple objectives of the client and architect: aesthetics, function, and sustainability. Since the company is a leading developer and manufacturer of solar power technology all aspects of the project needed to reflect the company’s culture and commitment to sustainability. More photographs and drawings following the break.
The main palette of floor materials – all of which were sustainable - included carpet (Bentley Prince Street “Urban Scene”), bamboo (Plyboo) and a polishing / stain finish (Retroplate) on the existing concrete factory floor that dates to 1931. In addition to being certifiably sustainable, the flooring materials and treatments were selected for their inherent beauty, durability, and industrial-Modern design sensibility to complement the historic shell.
Since the offices were on one floor in one vast, open space (nearly 200,000 s.f.) and contained numerous departments and ancillary areas, there was a goal to accommodate the seemingly contradictory objectives of defining these different areas while preserving the airy, unconstrained feeling of the historic volume. As a result, the design of the floor not only was a central element in setting the aesthetic tone of the place, but also as a device to create “blocks” defined by the grid of a hierarchy of “streets” and “alleys” (existing concrete, polished and color-stained) which in turn created the boundaries of public use areas, departments with workstations (carpet), conference blocks (concrete with inset carpet) and the executives’ section (bamboo).