Kahn, Albert

Kahn, Albert kän [key], 1869–1942, American architect, noted as a designer of factories, b. Germany, immigrated to the United States in 1880. He worked as a draftsman in a Detroit architect's office, learning the practice of architecture by observing and doing, and traveled abroad on an architectural scholarship in 1891. In 1895 he opened his own firm, Albert Kahn Associates, in Detroit, applying the techniques of mass production to architecture; a great number of factories, war plants, and naval bases were among the nearly 2,000 buildings he designed worldwide. Much of his finest work is found in the Detroit area: elegant homes in Grosse Pointe; the Belle Isle Aquarium (1904); the Packard Plant (1908), which unlike many of his automobile factories has not been razed; the Hill Auditorium at the Univ. of Michigan (1913); the art-deco-style Fisher Building (1928); and the modernist First National Building. Kahn was a pioneer in the use of reinforced concrete and steel. From 1928 to 1932 he was in charge of the industrial building program in the USSR.

See G. Nelson, Industrial Architecture of Albert Kahn, Inc. (1939), and M. H. Hodges, Building the Modern World (2018).

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