Ford Otosan Research and Development centre; Ford Otosan Research and Development centre;

Ford Otosan Research and Development Centre, Istanbul

Ford Automotive’s fourth design centre globally

Ford Otosan, one of the most successful and longest-standing joint ventures in the global auto industry is Türkiye’s number two industrial enterprise; employing 10,000 people in the country and operating three vehicle assembly plants and an engine plant.

The new Research and Development (R&D) facility is the fourth design centre of Ford and operates next to the Istanbul junction of Trans European Motorway as part of a larger complex containing marketing offices, a training centre and stocking facilities.

The 38,000m2 building is fully equipped with high-end technologies and infrastructure capable of serving 1,500 people and includes offices, labs, a cafe, a restaurant, an auditorium, exhibition halls and an advanced design centre.

Developing a challenging design

We provided structural, geotechnical and infrastructural design services for this project. Structural engineers assisted architects to develop challenging design with large spans for the design studios, high retaining walls conformable with the landscape, staircases and pedestrian bridges having slender structures, etc.

During the construction stage, deformation of the shoring structure was monitored carefully by geotechnical engineers to prevent any damage on the existing building. The interaction of flat roofs, big atriums, courtyard skylights and landscape issues demanded a complicated infrastructural design in this project.

Improving the working environment

The context that surrounds this section of the motorway is a typical highway adjacent, uncharacteristically structured urban fabric occupied in its majority by industrial buildings of varying scale and proportion which service themselves from this main artery.

The design deals with the challenge of creating a peaceful working and studying environment for creative facilities next to a noisy and polluted traffic artery. Distant from the city centre and any practical means of transportation, accessibility is guaranteed by the use of private transportation services. Which further poses the central need to create a stimulating ambiance for its 1,500 personnel somewhat isolated within this context.

The complex is shaped by two monoliths separated by a central courtyard. Block A, to the north, acts as a barrier against prevailing wind, noise and air pollution from the motorway, while Block B protects from southern sun and the presence of more intensive warehouse and distribution facilities of the campus. Together they protect the island like internal courtyard within.

Big atriums in each block provide natural daylight for all office floors down to the first basement. Keeping the same approach, light wells over the internal garden provide natural light to the cafeteria space below. Most of the technical equipment such as HVAC systems and electricity panels has been located over the roof because of high land values and hidden behind the mesh facade.