Ford River Rouge Complex

The Ford River Rouge Complex (commonly known as the Rouge Complex or just The Rouge) is a Ford Motor Company automobile factory complex located in Dearborn, Michigan, along the Rouge River, upstream from its confluence with the Detroit River at Zug Island. Construction began in 1917, and when it was completed in 1928 it had become the largest integrated factory in the world.

The Rouge measures 1.5 miles (2.4 km) wide by 1 mile (1.6 km) long, including 93 buildings with nearly 16 million square feet (1.5 km²) of factory floor space. With its own docks in the dredged Rouge River, 100 miles (160 km) of interior railroad track, its own electricity plant, and ore processing, the titanic Rouge was able to turn raw materials into running vehicles within this single complex, a prime example of vertical-integration production. Over 100,000 workers were employed there in the 1930s. Some of the Rouge buildings were designed by Albert Kahn. His Rouge glass plant was regarded at the time as an exemplary and humane factory building, with its ample natural light coming through windows in the ceiling. More recently, several buildings have been converted to "green" structures with a number of environmentally friendly features. However, many vehicular skeletons remain buried on the grounds of the Rouge. In the summer of 1932, through Edsel Ford's support, Diego Rivera studied the facilities at the Rouge; these studies became a major part of his set of murals Detroit Industry , on continuous display at the Detroit Institute of Arts since their completion in 1933.

Ford Rouge Center
Today, the Rouge site is home to Ford's Rouge Center. This industrial park includes six Ford factories on 600 acres (2.4 km²) of land, as well as steelmaking operations run by Severstal North America, a Russian steelmaker. The new Dearborn Truck factory famously features a vegetation-covered roof and rainwater reclamation system designed by sustainability architect William McDonough. This facility is still Ford's largest factory and employs some 6,000 workers. Mustang production, however, has moved to the AutoAlliance International plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. Tours of the factory were a long tradition. Tours of the facility began in 1924 and ran until 1980. They resumed in 2004 in cooperation with The Henry Ford Museum with multimedia presentations as well as viewing of the assembly floor. The management of Dearborn Truck has decreed that no vehicles from other manufacturers may park in the main employee lot. A sign proclaims "Ford family vehicles only." Hourly workers from both Ford and Severstal facilities at the complex are represented by UAW Local 600. Ford's SS William Clay Ford was based out of the River Rouge Plant.

Renovated architecture
In 1999 Architect William McDonough entered into an agreement with Ford Motor Company to redesign its 85-year-old, 1,212-acre (4.90 km 2) Rouge River facility. The roof of the 1.1 million square foot (100,000 m²) Dearborn truck assembly plant was covered with more than 10 acres (40,000 m²) of sedum, a low-growing groundcover. The sedum retains and cleanses rainwater and moderates the internal temperature of the building, saving energy. The roof is part of an $18 million rainwater treatment system designed to clean 20 billion gallons (76,000,000 m³) of rainwater annually, sparing Ford from a $50 million mechanical treatment facility.


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