Albert Kahn in Buffalo

Albert Kahn, (born March 21, 1869, Rhaunen, Westphalia [Germany]—died Dec. 8, 1942, Detroit, Mich., U.S.), industrial architect and planner known for his designs of American automobile factories. In his time he was considered the world's foremost industrial architect and the “father of modern factory design.”

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 factory.

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)

Pierce Arrow Plant, 255 Great Arrow Avenue

Packard Showroom Building, 1325 Main  Street

Ford Plant/Terminal A, 901 Fuhrmann Boulevard

Ford Plant/Tri-Main Building,  2495 Main Street

American Axle/1001 East Delavan Avenue

General Motors Plant #1, 2995 River Road

Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2022
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