NEW YORK - Trucks and urban buildings are designed to stand the test of time, with surfaces and features that define purpose and capability. Both have evolved to meet the demands of a changing world.
Since debuting in 1948, Ford F-Series trucks have pushed the boundaries of what built tough means. New materials like high-strength steel enhance durability, while added features such as improved braking systems and productivity screens that display fuel economy and towing information make it easier for users to get work done. Similarly, advancements in architecture research and technology have led to new designs and to improved living and working conditions.
Today, Ford Motor Company and the American Institute of Architects New York are hosting a private luncheon and panel discussion, “Design with a Purpose: Built Tough,” intended to explore parallel design trends between those iconic buildings we admire and the powerful, utilitarian Ford F-Series trucks used to help build them. The discussion is a feature presentation of the first week of Archtober, the third annual Architecture and Design Month in New York City.
Some New York City buildings are symbols of the city, just as F-Series trucks have earned recognition as being synonymous with endurance and power. These buildings and trucks signal authority, while at the same time blending into the environment to which they belong.
Users of both trucks and urban buildings require functionality, safety and long-term reliability, and both are designed to last. New York’s Empire State Building has towered over the city for 82 years; for 41 years, it reigned as the tallest skyscraper in the world. Ford has more full-size pickup trucks on the road with at least 250,000 miles than any other automaker, and F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in America for 36 years.
“With trucks, every surface and feature must be crafted for utility while retaining an unmistakable Built Ford Tough look,” said J Mays, Ford group vice president and chief creative officer. “Trucks are similar to architecture, in that a building must clearly convey its use. Once inside the building, its layout needs to be practical, with intuitive features to assist the person occupying it. A truck operates the same way, with intelligent design that can complement the lifestyle of the person driving it.”
New York architects and Ford truck designers face similar challenges in creating something that lives up to the hype.
“We are constantly challenged with surpassing our own reputation,” said Rick Bell, a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and executive director of its New York chapter. “New York is one of the greatest cities in the world, and the work we create has global impact. Architects here have the privilege and responsibility of adding durable amenity to this tough, urban context. Millions of people live and work in New York. But it is also here that we dream and succeed. Our city combines form and function, fun and frenzy. Design provides the structure and inspiration.”
The connection between trucks and buildings goes further than answering similar design needs for durability, functionality and reliability. Both trucks and buildings signal economic improvement as well. Recovery in home construction translates to strong growth in truck sales, as business picks up and contractors invest in their primary work tool. Today, 55 percent of vehicles used on heavy construction jobs are Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks.
The panel discussion can be followed live from 12:30-1:30 p.m. EDT at inhabitat.com/design-with-a-purpose-webcast.
Panel participants include:
•Rick Bell, FAIA, executive director, AIANY
•Erik Churchill, project manager, SHoP Construction
•Steven Colletta, vice president, Sciame Construction Company
•J Mays, group vice president and chief creative officer, design, Ford Motor Company