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Ford Motor Company Robotics Building, University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
Function and form.
Manipulating light and space.
An iconic backdrop
Pursuing LEED Silver, the Ford Robotics Building is an interdisciplinary facility focuses on bringing together the diverse disciplines that contribute to research on robotics. State-of-the-art shared research and support spaces enable faculty, students, and researchers to work together on the critical robotics challenges for the next century. Large, open areas and a start-up-styled collaboration zones throughout the facility promote transparency, visibility, and knowledge transfer, and provide space for group demonstrations.

The facility places the University of Michigan among a select group of universities to boast a dedicated robotics facility. The four-story, 140,000 square foot building includes high bay labs, dedicated shops, classrooms, and office space, as well as co-location and proximate support functions for related research areas. As a keystone facility in the university’s engineering and robotics programs, the building itself is a statement. The curvilinear façade of this ‘gateway’ facility offers dual purpose; the horizontal fins shade the glass wall and filter natural light into the large gathering space to prevent glare and overheating, while the sweeping curve responds to the geometry of the site to create an iconic backdrop at a major entry point to campus.
Results
pEUI: 83 (57% better than AIA 2030 baseline)
The building uses a variety of conservation measures to minimize energy use yielding a 30% reduction from baseline.
Designed with occupant well-being in mind the offices were located along the north face of the building to take advantage of diffuse daylight and views to the exterior.
High performance glazing, sunscreens and automated shades both reduce energy use and enhance occupant comfort by providing glare-free daylight and a visual connection to the surround site.
LED lighting with stepped dimming for daylight harvesting are a key part of the energy conservation measures.
A high-performance HVAC system including chilled beams, DOAS with heat recovery and displacement ventilation in the atrium provide occupant thermal comfort and enhanced air quality while being highly efficient.
The surrounding landscaped area incorporated a variety of water-use reduction strategies, including bioretention planters to clean and conserve storm water.
The research labs are designed to facilities adaptation over time which provided both flexibility of use as well as material resource efficiency.
The community atrium encourages occupant health and fitness by providing a ceremonial open stair that invites people to climb it rather than using the elevator.
The building’s embodied carbon and thus contribution to greenhouse gas emissions was reduced by carefully salvaging 75% of construction waste and by incorporating recycled content from local sources and FSC certified wood for 20% of all materials used.
Project Data
Ford Motor Company Robotics Building 2013-10079-000
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
PROJECT SCOPE
New Construction
HED ROLE
Architecture (Full Service), Structural Engineering, Mechanical/ Plumbing Engineering, Electrical Engineering
RSF/GSF
137,000
CONSTRUCTION COST
$54.0 Million
SUSTAINABILITY LEVEL
LEED Silver
Project Team
  • Michael Cooper
    PE, LEED AP, MBA
    Managing Principal
    President
  • Charles Jacobs
    ASLA, PMP, LEED AP BD+C
    Associate Principal
    Project Management Leader
  • Shaun Rihacek
    LEED AP
    Associate
    Design
  • Jack Bullo
    AIA, LEED AP
    Principal
    Architecture
  • Peyman Ramin
    PE, LEED AP
    Principal
    Electrical Engineering
  • Lauren Roller
    PE
    Associate
    Structural Engineering
  • Mark Hieber
    ASLA, LEED AP
    Principal
    Landscape Architecture
  • Christopher George
    Associate
    Design
Manipulating light and space.
Ford Motor Company Robotics Building, University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
PROJECT DATA
PROJECT TEAM
Function and form.