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Ford Foundation for Social Justice makes AIA COTE Top Ten

May 30, 2020

The historic Ford Foundation headquarters, designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates and completed in 1968 was recently honored with an AIA 2020 COTE® Top Ten award following its two-year renovation, redesign and overall transformation into the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice.

The redesign by Gensler maintains and enhances the building’s original character while significantly improving functionality, transparency, and accessibility. Reorganization of the interior for more communal working spaces and increased public access was central to the design approach and reflects the Foundation’s core values. The LEED Platinum renewal brought the structure into compliance with the latest New York City safety code and all work was done under New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission guidelines. Anyone who attended DOCOMOMO US/New York Tri-State’s “Modern Affair” event last November experienced firsthand the striking potential of leveraging outstanding landmarks of mid-20th century architecture with current sustainability innovation and design excellence.  

The national COTE® Top Ten program highlights projects that meet the AIA Committee on the Environment’s rigorous criteria for social, economic, and ecological value. Each year ten innovative projects are recognized for their integration of design excellence, environmental performance and social purpose.

AIA 2020 COTE® Top Ten – Ford Foundation for Social Justice

The Ford Foundation building was not the only mid-century modern landmark to receive a 2020 COTE® Top Ten award following an extensive renovation. A bit further afield, the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, designed by Edward Durell Stone and completed in 1963, was also honored. Read about it here.

Ford Foundation for Social Justice. Photo: © Garrett Rowland
Ford Foundation for Social Justice. Photo: © Garrett Rowland