Seeking to forge deeper ties with the technology industry in Silicon Valley, Ford expanded its Palo Alto footprint with the opening of the 150,000 sqft Ford Research and Innovation Center – the largest of any auto maker in the region. The new facility is located near the headquarters of major tech companies and will allow Ford easy access to some of the best and brightest computerengineers.
Starting the project with an existing building which had originally been designed with an access floor as a trading floor for a financial firm, the architect, HED Design, had to make an immediate recommendation to their client – utilize the existing access floor or pour a new concrete slab. After analyzing the initial costs associated with both options, the decision was made to move forward with an access floor system as the most cost-effective solution. But embracing the existing access floors ended up providing additional benefits beyond those initial financial savings.
With a desire to apply popular modern industrial office design aesthetics, the decision had already been made to utilize an exposed ceiling, and Ford also wanted to foster an open and communal feel for their new and modern workspace. “In an open office like ours, there’s a lot of interaction, and those interactions lead to much more interesting solutions to the problems that we’re trying to solve,” discloses Dragos Maciuca, Technical Director, Ford Research and Innovation Center. Having been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies, sustainability was also a driving factor to Ford, and the new Research and Design Center needed to reflect that commitment to reducing their environmental impact.
These factors taken together made Underfloor Service Distribution (UFSD) a natural solution, with all power and data cables moved into the void beneath the floor. The result was a sleek, forward-facing, and environmentally friendly office space where clutter was minimized while still maintaining accessibility and flexibility for any needs that may arise for Ford in the future.