Albert Kahn (March 21, 1869 – December 8, 1942) was the foremost American industrial architect of his day. He is sometimes called the "architect of Detroit". In 1943, the Franklin Institute awarded him the Frank P. Brown Medal posthumously. Many of Albert Kahn's personal working papers and construction photographs are housed at the University of Michigan's  Bentley Historical Library . His personal working library, the  Albert Kahn Library Collection, is housed at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI . The  Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian house most of the family's correspondence and other materials.
Kahn was born to a
Jewish family on March 21, 1869, in  Rhaunen, Kingdom of Prussia. Kahn immigrated with his family to Detroit in 1880, when he was 11. His father Joseph was trained as a  rabbi; his mother Rosalie had a talent for the visual arts and music.
As a teenager, Kahn got a job at the architectural firm of
Mason and Rice. In 1891, he won a year's scholarship to study abroad in Europe, where he toured Germany, France, Italy, and Belgium with  Henry Bacon, another young architecture student. Bacon later designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.. 
In 1895, he founded the architectural firm
Albert Kahn Associates. Together with his younger brother  Julius, he developed a new style of construction whereby reinforced concrete replaced wood in factory walls, roofs, and supports. This gave better fire protection and allowed large volumes of unobstructed interior. Packard Motor Car Company's factory, designed in 1903, was the first to be built according to this principle.
The success of the Packard plant interested
Henry Ford in Kahn's designs. Kahn designed Ford Motor Company's Highland Park plant, begun in 1909, where Ford consolidated production of the Ford Model T and perfected the assembly line. 
Kahn later designed, in 1917, the massive half-mile-long
Ford River Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan. The Rouge developed as the largest manufacturing complex in the United States and, in its time, in the world. Its workforce peaked at 120,000 workers.
Kahn was responsible for many of the buildings and houses built under direction of the
Hiram Walker family in Walkerville, Ontario, including Willistead Manor. Kahn's interest in historically styled buildings is also seen in his houses in Detroit's Indian Village, the Cranbrook House, the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, and The Dearborn Inn, the world's first airport hotel.
Kahn also designed the 28-story
Art Deco Fisher Building in Detroit, now a landmark and considered one of the most beautiful elements of the Detroit skyline. In 1928, the Fisher building was honored by the Architectural League of New York as the year's most beautiful commercial structure. Between 1917 and 1929, Kahn designed the headquarters for all three major daily newspapers in Detroit.
On May 8, 1929, through an agreement signed with Kahn by President of
Amtorg Saul G. Bron, the Soviet government contracted the Albert Kahn firm to design the Stalingrad Tractor Plant, the first tractor plant in the USSR. On January 9, 1930, a second contract with Kahn was signed for his firm to become consulting architects for all industrial construction in the Soviet Union.
Under these contracts, during 1929–1932, Kahn's firm operated from its headquarters in Detroit and the newly established design bureau in
Moscow to train and supervise Soviet architects and engineers. The bureau was headed by Albert Kahn's younger brother, Moritz Kahn, and 25 Kahn Associatese staff were involved in Moscow in this project. They trained more than 4,000 Soviet architects and engineers; and designed 521 plants and factories Gosproektstroi under the  first five-year plan. 
Kahn also designed many of what are considered the classic buildings at the
University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. These include the Burton Memorial Tower, Hill Auditorium, Hatcher Graduate Library, and William L. Clements Library. Kahn said later in life that of all the buildings he designed, he wanted most to be remembered for his work on the William L. Clements Library.
Kahn frequently collaborated with architectural sculptor
Corrado Parducci. In all, Parducci worked on about 50 Kahn commissions, including banks, office buildings, newspaper buildings, mausoleums, hospitals, and private residences.
Kahn's firm was able to adapt to the changing needs of World War I and designed numerous army airfield and naval bases for the United States government during the war. By
World War II, Kahn's 600-person office was involved in making Detroit industry part of America's Arsenal of Democracy. Among others, the office designed the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant, and the Willow Run Bomber Plant, Kahn's last building, located in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The Ford Motor Company mass-produced Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers here. 
In 1937, Albert Kahn Associates was responsible for 19 percent of all architect-designed factories in the U.S.
In 1941, Kahn received the eighth highest salary and compensation package in the U.S., $486,936, on which he paid 72% in tax. 
Albert Kahn worked on more than 1,000 commissions from Henry Ford
and hundreds for other automakers. Kahn designed showrooms for Ford Motor Company in several cities including New York, Washington, D.C., and Boston. He died in Detroit on December 8, 1942.
As of 2006, approximately 60 Kahn buildings were listed on the
National Register of Historic Places. Not all of Kahn's works have been preserved. Cass Technical High School in Detroit, designed by Malcomson and Higginbotham and built by Albert Kahn's firm in 1922, was demolished in 2011 after vandals had stripped it of most of its fixtures. The Donovan Building, later occupied by  Motown Records, was abandoned for decades and deteriorated. The city demolished it as part of its beautification plan before the 2006 Super Bowl XL.
Twelve Albert Kahn buildings are recognized by official Michigan historical markers:
He is not related to American architect
Louis Kahn of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
All buildings are located in
Detroit, unless otherwise indicated.
Dexter M. Ferry summer residence, 1890 (remodeling of an early 19th-century stone farmhouse), Unadilla, New York (known as Milfer Farm, held by Ferry heirs today; Kahn also designed the "Honeymoon Cottage" on the estate, one of the earliest prefabricated houses built)
Hiram Walker offices, 1892, designer for Mason & Rice Windsor, Ontario
William Livingstone House, 1894 designer for Mason & Rice (demolished, 2007) Children's Free Hospital, 1896, Nettleton, Kahn & Trowbridge
Bethany Memorial Church, 1897, Nettleton, Kahn & Trowbridge
Bernard Ginsburg House, 1898, Nettleton & Kahn Joseph R. McLaughlin, 1899, Nettleton & Kahn
George Headley, 1900, Nettleton & Kahn
Edward DeMille Campbell House, 1899, Nettleton & Kahn
Ann Arbor, Michigan Detroit Racquet Club, 1902 (Kahn designed the building, and the Vinton Company, whose offices were just down Woodbridge Street from the club, was awarded the general contract for erecting the facilities)
Frederick L. Colby, building permit issued 5/22/1901, finished 1902
Packard Automotive Plant, 1903 (Kahn's tenth factory built for Packard, but first concrete one)
Palms Apartments, 1903
Temple Beth-El, 1903 (Kahn's home synagogue, now the Bonstelle Theatre of Wayne State University)
Belle Isle Aquarium and Conservatory, 1904 Francis C. McMath, building permit issued 8/14/1902 finished 1904
Brandeis-Millard House, 1904, Gold Coast Historic District, Midtown Omaha, Nebraska Arthur Kiefer, building permit issued 5/17/1905, finished 1905
Charles M. Swift, 1905
Albert Kahn House, 1906 (his personal residence) Burham S. Colburn, building permit issued 8/7/1905, finished 1906
Gustavus D. Pope, 1906
Allen F. Edwards, building permit issued 5/23/1906, finished 1906
George N. Pierce Plant, 1906,
Buffalo, New York
Willistead Manor, 1906, Windsor, Ontario Battle Creek Post Office, 1907,
Battle Creek, Michigan (building featuring the concrete construction method used in Kahn's Packard plant) Belle Isle Casino, 1907
Cranbrook House, 1907,
Cranbrook Educational Community, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan Service Building for the Packard Motor Car Company, 1907, New York City
Frederick H. Holt House, 1907
Highland Park Ford Plant, 1908, Highland Park, Michigan
Edwin S. George Building, 1908 Kaufman Footwear Building, 1908,
Kitchener, Ontario (renovated into lofts in the early 2000s) Mahoning National Bank, 1909,
Frederick Stearns Building addition, c. 1910
Packard Motor Corporation Building, 1910–11, Philadelphia Hugh Chalmers, building permit issued 11/6/1909, finished 1911
Merganthaler Linotype Company Buildings, 1910s-1920s,
Brooklyn, New York City
National Theatre, 1911 Shaw Walker Company, Five-story expansion, 1912,
 Muskegon, Michigan
Bates Mill Building Number 5, 1914, Lewiston, Maine Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant, 1914,
Cleveland, Ohio ( Cleveland Institute of Art since 1981)
Kales Building, 1914
Liggett School-Eastern Campus, 1914 ( Detroit Waldorf School since 1964) Benjamin Siegel, 1913-1914
Detroit Athletic Club, 1915
Garden Court Apartments, 1915
Vinton Building, 1916
Russell Industrial Center, 1916
Omaha Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant, 1916, North Omaha, Nebraska
The Detroit News Building, 1917 Ford Motor Company New York Headquarters, 1917, New York City
Ford River Rouge Complex, 1917–28, Dearborn, Michigan Multiple buildings and Aircraft Maintenance Hangars (Bldg 777&781), 1917–19,
Langley Field, Hampton, Virginia Motor Wheel Factory, 1918,
Lansing, Michigan (currently being renovated into residential lofts)
General Motors Building, 1919 (former GM world headquarters and second largest office building in the world at that time)
Dominion Tire Plant, 1919, Kitchener, Ontario
Fisher Body Plant 21, 1921
First Congregational Church addition, 1921
Phoenix Mill, 1921, Plymouth, Michigan
First National Building, 1922
Park Avenue Building, 1922 Former Detroit Police Headquarters, 1923
Temple Beth El, 1923 (a new building to replace the 1903 temple, currently occupied by the Bethel Community Transformation Center) Walker Power Plant, 1923, Windsor, Ontario
The Flint Journal Building, 1924, Flint, Michigan Olde Building, 1924
Ford Motor Company Lamp Factory, 1921–25, Flat Rock, Michigan
Detroit Free Press Building, 1925
1001 Covington Apartments, 1925 Blake Building, 1926,
Jackson, Michigan Ford Hangar, 1926,
Lansing Municipal Airport, Lansing, Illinois
Packard Motor Car Showroom and Storage Facility, c. 1926, Buffalo, New York
Packard Proving Grounds, 1926, Shelby Charter Township, Michigan Packard Showroom, 1926, New York City
Consumers Power Company headquarters, 1927,
Jackson, Michigan (demolished, 2013) 
S. S. Kresge World Headquarters, 1927
Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, 1927, Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan
Fisher Building, 1927 Muskegon Chronicle Building, 1928,
Muskegon, Michigan 
Argonaut Building 1928 (General Motors laboratory, now owned by the College for Creative Studies) Brooklyn Printing Plant (New York Times), 1929, Brooklyn, New York City
Detroit Times Building, 1929 (demolished, 1978) 
Griswold Building, 1929 Packard Service Building, 1929, New York City
Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant, 1930, Richmond, California
New Center Building, 1930 (adjacent to the Fisher Building)
The Dearborn Inn, 1931, Dearborn, Michigan (world's first airport hotel) Former
Congregation Shaarey Zedek Building, 1932 General Motors Building, 1933, Chicago
Century of Progress International Exposition
Ford Rotunda, 1934, Dearborn, Michigan (designed for the Chicago World's Fair; burned, 1963) Chevrolet/Fisher Body plant, Baltimore, Maryland, 1935 (demolished 2006)
Burroughs Adding Machine Plant, 1938, Plymouth, Michigan
Dodge Truck Plant, 1938,
Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant, 1941, Warren, Michigan
Willow Run Bomber Plant, 1941 (used by Ford for bombers during the war, then by Kaiser for cars, then by GM for transmissions) Hangars A and B (later renumbered 110 and 111), 1943,
NAS Barbers Point, Kapolei, Hawaii Upjohn Tower,
Kalamazoo, Michigan (designed for the Upjohn Company; demolished after Pfizer buyout, 2005) Studebaker Factory, Building 84, 1923, South Bend, Indiana
Cold Spring Granite Company Main Plant, 1929, Cold Spring, Minnesota (demolished 2008)
Campus structures built during his career (source of this list: Schreiber, Penny. "Albert Kahn's Campus." The Ann Arbor Observer, January, 2002, pp. 27–33):
Engineering Building (now West Hall), 1904
Psychopathic Hospital (demolished), 1906
Hill Auditorium, 1913 Helen Newberry Residence Hall, 1915
Natural Science Building, 1915
Betsy Barbour Residence Hall, 1920 General Library (now Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library), 1920
William L. Clements Library, 1923
Angell Hall, 1924 Physical Science Building (now Randall Laboratory), 1924
University Hospital (demolished), 1925
Couzens Hall, 1925
East Medical Building (now C. C. Little Building), 1925
Thomas H. Simpson Memorial Institute, 1927
Alexander G. Ruthven Museums Building, 1928 
Burton Memorial Tower, 1936 Neuropsychiatric Institute (demolished), 1938
Greek Organization Buildings:
Albert Kahn papers "he also received the Frank P. Brown medal posthumously"
"Bentley Historical Library Albert Kahn Associates Records 1825-2014".
"Albert Kahn Research Symposium".
"Archives of American Art, Albert Kahn Papers".
"A Golden Age of Jewish Architects" by Abbott Gorin, Jewish Currents, Spring 2015
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Johnson, Donald L. and Donald Langmead (1997). Makers of 20th Century Modern Architecture: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. ISBN . 1136640568 Pp. 161-164.
^ Borth, Christy.
Masters of Mass Production, Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1945, pp. 97-100.
"About Kahn-What". albertkahn.com. Archived from the original on May 27, 2011 . Retrieved . October 29, 2010
^ Borth, Christy.
Masters of Mass Production, pp. 107-8, Bobbs-Merrill Co., Indianapolis, IN, 1945.
^ Herman, Arthur.
Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, pp. 22, Random House, New York, NY, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4000-6964-4.
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Melnikova-Raich, Sonia (2010). "The Soviet Problem with Two 'Unknowns': How an American Architect and a Soviet Negotiator Jump-Started the Industrialization of Russia, Part I: Albert Kahn". . IA, The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology 36 (2): 59–73. ISSN 0160-1040. JSTOR 41933723.
"Industry's Architect". . June 29, 1942 Time . Retrieved . 2008-04-04 In 1928 the Soviet Government, after combing the U.S. for a man who could furnish the building brains for Russia's industrialization, offered the job to Kahn. Twenty-five Kahn engineers and architects went to Moscow. They had to start from scratch.
^ Borth, Christy.
Masters of Mass Production, pp. 109-10, 120-28, Bobbs-Merrill Co., Indianapolis, IN, 1945.
^ Herman, Arthur.
Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, pp. 51-2, 96-8, 148, 200, 227-9, 242, Random House, New York, NY, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4000-6964-4.
"Compensation and the I.R.S.: It's not the 'Good' Old Days". . 2010-12-01. (Business Day section) The New York Times . Retrieved . 2014-01-21
Cass Tech High School (old). Historic Detroit. Retrieved on November 20, 2014.
"Michigan Historical Markers". Archived from the original on 2010-03-15 . Retrieved . 2010-02-01
^ Benjamin L. Gravel Jr.
Frederick H. Holt House (250 East Boston Boulevard). Historic Detroit. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
"Plans at old Shaw Walker site". MLive . Retrieved . July 31, 2017
"Brad Flory column: Good-bye to a landmark once 'the essence of Jackson. MLive. '"
"Chronicle Building now owned by Muskegon Community College". MLive . Retrieved . July 31, 2017
"Detroit Times Building". Buildings of Detroit. Archived from the original on 26 October 2010 . Retrieved . October 29, 2010
"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-04-16 . Retrieved . 2019-01-01 CS1 maint: archived copy as title ( link)
"Alpha Epsilon Phi - ΑΕΦ | Greek Life". fsl.umich.edu . Retrieved . 2018-05-25
Bridenstine, James (1989). Edsel and Eleanor Ford House. Wayne State University Press. ISBN . 0-8143-2161-5
Ferry, W. Hawkins (1970). . Detroit: Wayne State University Press. The Legacy of Albert Kahn ISBN . 0-8143-1889-4
Fogelman, Randall (2004). Detroit's New Center. Arcadia. ISBN . 0-7385-3271-1 Lewis, David L. "Ford and Kahn"
Michigan History 1980 64(5): 17-28. Ford commissioned architect Albert Kahn to design factories
Matuz, Roger (2002). Albert Kahn, Builder of Detroit. Wayne State University Press. ISBN . 978-0-8143-2956-6
Sobocinski, Melanie Grunow (2005). Detroit and Rome: building on the past. Regents of the University of Michigan. ISBN . 0-933691-09-2 Melnikova-Raich, Sonia (2010). "The Soviet Problem with Two 'Unknowns': How an American Architect and a Soviet Negotiator Jump-Started the Industrialization of Russia, Part I: Albert Kahn". . IA, The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology 36 (2): 57–80. ISSN 0160-1040. JSTOR 41933723. ; Melnikova-Raich, Sonia (2011). "The Soviet Problem with Two 'Unknowns': How an American Architect and a Soviet Negotiator Jump-Started the Industrialization of Russia, Part II: Saul Bron". . IA, The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology 37 (1/2): 5–28. ISSN 0160-1040. JSTOR 23757906. ( abstract)