Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice

Submitted by Gensler

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Client: Ford Foundation

Location: New York, NY, United States

Completion date: 2018

Project Team

Architect

Consultant - Branding & Graphics

Gensler

Industry Resource

Consultant - Lighting Designer

Fisher Marantz Stone

Industry Resource

Consultant - Lighting Designer

Levien & Company

Other

Craig Byers, Brand Design Director

Gensler

Other

Andrea Plenter, Brand Design Lead

Gensler

Other

Jocelyn Mastroianni, Brand Designer

Gensler

Other

Kevin Carlin, Brand Project Manager

Gensler

Other

Zamie Casazola, Brand Designer

Gensler

Other

Jose Troconis, Brand Designer

Gensler

Overview

A private not-for-profit organization established in 1936, the Ford Foundation partnered with Gensler for a mission-driven redesign of its landmarked Manhattan headquarters. The holistic renovation transforms the Foundation’s workplace and public spaces in a manifestation of its mission: to promote the inherent dignity of all people.

Completed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates in 1968, the Ford Foundation’s building was hailed as an architectural icon with its interior garden and atrium, 12 floors of sophisticated office space, and mid-century modern furniture collection.

Goals

The design team created a new art gallery and mission-driven art program throughout the building to highlight and engage an equitable experience for all who work and visit.

A new double-height gallery was created by removing a portion of the building’s second floor concrete slab. Working with the gallery director, the design team developed a space to feature rotating contemporary exhibitions reflecting the social and cultural issues of our times. The rotating art on display has been commissioned by Ford Foundation and focuses on artists who are engaged in the broader mission of the organization. Art allows the Foundation to engage a community around the globe who align on a dialogue around social justice.

The comprehensive art program includes site-specific installations and murals that reflect the Foundation’s values. Powerful imagery and text support the narrative in all workplace and convening areas. Gensler’s environmental graphics, signage, and wayfinding design leverage powerful imagery and text throughout. All art installations and murals within the building are visible to the community through the atrium and common areas.

Process

As part of the planning process, Gensler visited the studios of the artists creating site-specific murals including JR, Odili Donald Odita, Jess X. Snow, and Teresita Fernández. Drawings, building plans, and elevations were shared with the artists as they were creating their work for the Foundation. This allowed the art to be a deeply embedded design element which supports storytelling around social change. The power of art express the trials and tribulations of social challenges the world is facing today.

Additional Information

Robin Klehr Avia, FIIDA, Project Principal Madeline Burke-Vigeland, AIA, Principal and Project Director Ed Wood, IIDA, Principal and Design Director Lydia Gould, CID, IIDA, Principal and Design Director Ambrose Aliaga-Kelly, AIA, Principal and Technical Director Johnathan Sandler, Principal and Strategy Director Bevin Savage-Yamazaki, Assoc. AIA, Project Manager Jonas Gabbai, LEED, Design Director Karen Pedrazzi, AIA, LEED, Technical Architect Thomas Turner, AIA, Architect Meghan Magee, CDT, LEED AP BD C, LEED-AP, Designer Obi Elechi, Designer Anthony Harris, AIA, LEED, Architect Ian Korn, AIA, LEED, Architect Kate Sherwood, AIA, Design Manager David Briefel, LEED, Sustainability Director Lissa Krueger, Designer John Bricker, Creative Director