Designing for Industry
The Architecture of Albert Kahn
Albert Kahn designed his first factory in 1903; by 1918, when he began the Rouge River Ford Plant, he had become the foremost industrial architect of the United States. His reputation soon became international; between 1929 and 1932, Kahn and his staff designed over 500 plants in Russia alone. By the time of his death in 1942, much of the rapid mechanization of the world in the previous forty years had been guided by his designs.
Kahn's contribution to architecture goes far beyond his revolutionary application of the principles and economics of technology to factory design. He also transformed the design process itself from an individual to a team effort by combining related areas of expertise in much the same manner as the new factories were combining skills and materials to mass-produce automobiles and other heavy machinery.
This book documents and analyzes Kahn's career, including the unique team practice that he originated. Of the over 2,000 factories designed by his firm, all representative prototypal examples are discussed in detail; major nonindustrial works by the firm are also included in order to present a comprehensive picture of Kahn's practice. His work is considered in the context of his contemporaries both in the United States and in Europe in order to clarify the usefulness of the contributions he made. The 99 illustrations include both photographs and working drawings.