Henry Ford located the Rouge Complex strategically for its access to waterways and the transportation network. He had the swampy site turned into a massive industrial complex by driving hundreds of wood pilings into the ground to support the buildings. The Rouge was transformed from a wetlands to the mightiest industrial complex ever known. And that transformation made a lasting impact, both good and challenging, eventually creating a huge brownfield pollution site.
When Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. re-envisioned the Rouge, he was influenced by the pioneering environmental work of architect Bill McDonough. Together, they saw a site that could become healthy again over time. A home for birds and bees and thousands of trees. A site that could be a model of industrial production and environmental redesign.
Today’s Rouge features a Gold LEED Visitor Center, treats its storm water with an all-natural system that includes one of the world’s largest living roofs, has a paint plant that captures fumes to create fuel cells, has plants treating decades of soil pollution, is a better neighbor and a better place to work, and is now home to wildlife.
Explore how the living roof slows and cleans up to 4,000,000 gallons of storm water each year.
Tour the Outdoor Living Lab to see the results up close.