March 18, 2021
HED celebrates the completion of the University of Michigan Ford Robotics Building
HED was very excited to celebrate the opening of the University of Michigan’s Ford Motor Company Robotics Building this week!
Designed by HED, who worked closely with UM and their partner Ford, this world class robotics facility will accelerate the future of advanced and more equitable robotics and mobility, particularly in Southeast Michigan.
The Building is a four-story, $75 million, 134,000-square-foot complex situated on UM's North Campus. As the new hub of the UM Robotics Institute, its first three floors hold adaptable research labs for robots that fly, walk, roll, and augment the human body—as well as classrooms, offices, collaboration zones and makerspaces. Through an inventive agreement, the fourth floor houses Ford’s first robotics and mobility research lab on a university campus with lab and office spaces for 100 Ford researchers and engineers.
“This is an exceptional project that truly embodies our firm’s mission of creating positive impact for our clients and communities,” says Michael Cooper, HED President and Managing Principal in Detroit. “This facility was the result of deep collaboration to design a space that will push the threshold of engineering and robotics and set a tone nationally for excellence in those fields of study. The partnership between industry and academia that this facility represents is going to creative huge value and impact for U-M students and greater Southeast Michigan, and our team feels incredibly gratified to have been a small part of that.”
The new facility brings together U-M researchers from 23 different buildings and ten Top 10 programs with architecture that echoes the U-M Robotics Institute’s boundary-breaking and inclusive spirit.
"As a firm, we've had a long history of success working with both The University of Michigan and Ford Motor Company," says Chris Vogelheim, AIA Principal and Higher Education Studio Leader in Detroit. "The design reflects their mutual vision for a highly responsive, inclusive facility that promotes engagement and spontaneity, the foundation for all innovation. The site’s unique curving south frontage gave shape to the dynamic light filled atrium that puts all learning and research on display. Highly visible and accessible classrooms, maker spaces and research labs support a team-based approach to discovery and learning and are the catalyst for an environment ‘that supports this innovative attitude towards the development of Robotics and related technologies rooted in both theory and testing.”
All images used in this piece are the property of The University of Michigan and circulated as part of their press and media kit announcing the grand opening of this facility.