The Assembly

  • area / size 524,366 sqft
  • Completed 2022
  • ZGF designed The Assembly with expansive opportunities for natural light and advanced research in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    The Assembly’s name pays homage to the building’s history and legacy. The new facility totals 355,000 square feet and features three building components: the 245,000-square-foot historic industrial plant; a new addition that has 110,000 square feet of laboratory, R&D and office space; and an in-building 325-car parking facility. The Assembly features an extensive list of amenities including a restaurant and café; a secured bicycle room and shower facilities; conference rooms; a 250-seat auditorium; and event and gathering spaces. Many of the old factory’s features —large floor plates, generous slab-to-slab floor heights, exposed steel beams and an industrial architectural style — are also ideal for modern laboratories. The design sensitively rehabilitates the eight-story Ford plant while leaving many of its original architectural details intact. The plant’s vertical crane shed—a distinct architectural element where rail cars once entered the building to offload auto components—is restored and transformed into an atrium for collaboration and social functions. Imbued with authentic character, the original corner showroom will be reinvented as community-serving retail. The project includes a new laboratory tower and 325-car parking facility on site. Clad in precast terracotta, the new addition complements the brick plant in materiality, form, and industrial character while remaining architecturally distinct. A landscaped terrace between the plant and the new tower connects the two volumes but visually demarcates the old and new structures. Through the transformation of a historic resource, advanced research and leading-edge ideas meet the resources and business acumen to cross the chasm to market-viability. 5051 Centre promises a fitting new role for a structure, which once embodied the disruptive technologies brought forth by Henry Ford, to provide the backdrop for tomorrow’s scientific breakthroughs.

    Design: ZGF
    Developer: Wexford Science + Technology
    Contractor: Turner Construction
    Photography: courtesy of ZGF