The bio-swale project, completed in 2015,
The international architecture firm, SmithGroup, has been retained for the project. Both of the new buildings are designed to demonstrate sustainability best practices. The administration building is being designed as a “net-zero” or even “net-positive” facility, and the visitor center will meet LEED standards.
“As part of Ford House’s commitment to sustainability, both buildings will utilize photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy and geothermal technology to offset heating and cooling for the buildings,” said Kevin Shultis, vice president for SmithGroup. “The buildings will also utilize high efficiency ‘smart windows’ with a system designed to track weather conditions and alert us when windows should be opened or closed to obtain the highest energy efficiency.”
Working with the Landscape
Building on the spirit of sustainable design practices, the project plans have been developed with consideration to migratory birds, habitat, and safety. Windows in the buildings will be made with glass crafted to prevent bird casualties often caused by heavily windowed structures. In addition, the project offers Ford House the opportunity to express the work of landscape architect, Jens Jensen, by incorporating native species in the planting areas.
Protecting the Lake and Watershed
The new parking lot will be designed to preserve nearby wetland areas. Rows will be separated by bio-swales planted with environmentally-beneficial vegetation to help filter and improve the quality of stormwater runoff. The primary objective is to ensure that water runoff from the estate is cleaned before entering Lake St. Clair.
The bioswales in the parking lot area will drain into the main bioswale on the estate that was put into operation in 2015. To learn more about that project watch the video below: