Kahn in Buffalo
(born March 21, 1869, Rhaunen, Westphalia [Germany]—died Dec. 8, 1942,
Detroit, Mich., U.S.),
Kahn was the principal architect for most of the large American automobile companies for 30 years. His firm designed more than a thousand projects for Ford, among them the fabrication and assembly plant in River Rouge, Mich., one of the largest industrial complexes in the world. By 1937 his firm was producing 19 percent of all architect-designed industrial buildings in the United States. Commissions for factories, foundries, and warehouses came from all continents.
In 1929 the Soviet government asked Kahn to construct a tractor factory in Stalingrad (1930). Kahn’s firm subsequently designed 521 factories in the U.S.S.R. and trained more than a thousand Soviet engineers during the 1930s.
- Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica (online Dec. 2022)
As America's most influential industrial
architect, Albert Kahn revolutionized the health and safety conditions
of early twentieth-century factories and worked closely with Henry
Ford to implement his vision of the assembly line at the Highland Park
and River Rouge automobile plants.
Kahn pioneered the use of reinforced concrete,
non-intrusive steel structures, natural ventilation and glass building
skins to respond to the changing functional needs of the American
His pragmatism, ability to listen to the needs
of the client and experimentation with innovative building
technologies resulted in a new industrial architecture, which inspired
the development of European Modernism by Walter Gropius, Mies van der
Rohe and Le Corbusier.
- Bentley Historical Library (online Dec. 2022)