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Construction & Design

Gensler to lead Ford Foundation headquarters renovation

The Ford Foundation is embarking on a renovation of its landmark New York City headquarters.

The project will modernize the building to bring it up to municipal code while expanding spaces for convening and creating a global center for philanthropy and civil society.

Led by the global design firm Gensler, the renovation will preserve the building’s architectural design, and will have no impact on the foundation’s grant making.

The renovation comes in the wake of a yearlong analysis considering how to best address the building’s outdated systems, barriers to the disabled, and absence of sprinklers.

Ford Foundation tropical garden
Ford Foundation atrium garden

If built today, the building would not meet current NYC building code. When completed, the renovated building will be right-sized for the foundation’s workforce, with more collaborative and open space for staff and increased meeting space for nonprofit organizations and the public.

The Ford Foundation’s headquarters is one of the iconic landmarks of modern architecture in America.

Designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates, the building’s plan — including an atrium garden and spaces filled with natural light — marked a departure from the predominant architectural trends of the time. When it opened in 1967, New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable wrote that the Ford Foundation headquarters is “that rarity, a building aware of its world.”

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