June 22, 2008

LANDSCAPE: The Ford Rouge Plant, D.I.R.T Studio

Revitalizing a Sustainable Industrial Landscapes.

Eleonore de Lusignan

The Ford Rouge project in Dearborn, Michigan is a collaborative effort between Bill Ford, Bill McDonough, and D.I.R.T to remediating the landscape of one of our most historical and monument factories in the automotive industry. The main focus has been on the use of phytoremediation, a process that uses plants to treat polluted environments by absorbing or digesting toxins to clean the contaminated soil, water and air. The expert in this field, Clayton Rugh, has his installed a central scientific laboratory at the Ford Rouge power plant and is in charge of directing this process.

"In 1999 McDonough entered into an agreement with Ford Motor Company to redesign its 85-year-old, 1,212-acre Rouge River facility, an ambitious and innovative industrial/environmental makeover that will require 20 years--and $2 billion--to complete."

Overview by Will McDounough and Partners:

"This landscape master plan celebrates the potential to bring natural and industrial systems together to create a productive, regenerative landscape.

Henry Ford’s vision of linear production fundamentally reshaped the American manufacturing system --and provided a compelling framework for the transformation of this historic industrial site. Embracing Ford's heritage of innovation and business strength, the plan draws its inspiration from the features of the site and gives shape to the themes of linear production, historical legacy, and environmental regeneration. The large-scale interplay between the industrial and natural systems creates a new model for the regeneration of air, water, soil, and habitat through natural processes.

Devised for implementation over two decades, the design enables an orderly flow of people and delivery of materials through the site. A rectilinear pattern of hedgerows, swales, and trees reinforces the pre-existing street grid and creates a system that filters the millions of gallons of stormwater and reestablishes wildlife habitat.

The plan also reshapes Miller Road, the thoroughfare along the Rouge's eastern edge, as a tree-lined public boulevard highlighting the site's industrial heritage.

Additionally, the complex hosts groundbreaking research in phytoremediation. Researchers identified a dozen plants that successfully absorb and neutralize polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from the soil and established a 1.6-acre demonstration garden and research lab near the old coke oven by-products operations.

By rebuilding the processes of the site, the plan recreates the 20th century’s preeminent model of vertically integrated industry as a replicable model of sustainable manufacturing and a positive legacy for the future.

Ford Rouge Plant, Dearborn, MI. PILOT PROJECTS + PROTOTYPES: Storm water channels and porous paving retention beds (under the Mustangs), native shrub mosaics and phytoremediation research plots. Collaborators: Ford Motor Company, William McDonough + Partners, architects; Nelson/Byrd, landscape architects; Cahill Associates, engineers; Dr. Clayton Rugh, scientist.
from Archinect


D.I.R.T website

Think Green, Metropolis

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