Ford Rouge Center Landscape Master Plan Dearborn, Michigan


The restoration of the Ford Rouge Center transformed the historic manufacturing complex into a model of 21st Century industrial sustainability. As Ford Motor Co. made plans to expand the manufacturing facility at the Rouge, they were faced with an estimated $50 million to cleanup the toxic stormwater that flowed across the vast area of impervious surfaces into the Rouge River in order to meet new water quality mandates from the US EPA. William McDonough + Partners develop a master plan for the renovation and expansion of new manufacturing facilities that integrated a new form of storm water management infrastructure within the landscape. A 10-acre green roof atop a 1.1 million square foot truck manufacturing plant lies at the heart of a system of wet meadow gardens, porous paving, hedgerows and bio-swales that attenuates, cleanses, and conveys storm water across the site. By relying on a landscape-based infrastructure requiring a minimum use of pipes, the new stormwater system was implemented for $15 million. This innovative and sustainable design solution, costing less than one-third that of conventional practices, created a powerful and highly-acclaimed business case model for sustainable design. The Ford Rouge Center has won numerous awards from the design, business, and construction industries. It is now recognized as having the one of the most iconic green roof installation in the United States that has helped to transform the green roof industry.

Linearity and scale shape an “industrial strength” landscape that knits buildings and site together in a tightly woven fabric. Hedgerows lined with swales provide infiltration for rainwater, block the cold winter winds, and frame views of the awe-inspiring coke ovens and blast furnaces, juxtaposing the natural and the industrial and making the presence of these structures more keenly felt from the public areas of the site.

“We wanted the Rouge again to be the most copied and studied industrial complex in the world. My great-grandfather would have thought the Rouge Revitalization—a project imagined, planned, and executed by William McDonough + Partners and a team of consultants—was fantastic.”

– William C. Ford, Jr., Chairman, Ford Motor Company


Master plan and stormwater management plan


600 acres


Completed 2000


William McDonough + Partners
Nelson Byrd Woltz
D.I.R.T. Studio, Landscape Planning Partners