The Albert Kahn Legacy Foundation Honor
The Albert Kahn Legacy Foundation Educate
The Albert Kahn Legacy Foundation Preserve
The Albert Kahn Legacy Foundation
Albert Kahn Bus Tour – Sold Out
Doors to the Detroit History Club (3103 Commor, Hamtramck) open 30 minutes before the ticketed tour time at 9:30 am. The bus will depart promptly at 10:00 am.
Detroit led the world in architectural innovation during the first half of the last century, among the most important and influential of the city’s architects was Albert Kahn. Almost single-handedly, Kahn revolutionized factory design, enabling the high-volume, mass production of automobiles, aircraft, engines, weapons, and consumer products. Albert Kahn and his engineer brother, Julius Kahn, the inventor of modern reinforced concrete, transformed factories, warehouses, and office buildings from dark and dingy fire traps, into the strong, well lit, clean, and safe modern structures.
By the late 1930s, Albert Kahn’s firm was the leading industrial architecture firm in the world, and was designing nearly 20 percent of all architect-designed industrial buildings in the United States. In Detroit, Kahn and his firm planned more than 400 structures, including The Fisher Building, General Motors Building, and The First National Bank building. From the towering smokestacks of The Ford Motor Highland Park Factory to the awe-inspiring size of The Rouge, Kahn’s team shaped the very skyline of Detroit.
Join The Albert Kahn Legacy Foundation as we visit Albert Kahn’s most significant and influential buildings during this three hour tour that proves Detroit “Kahn Do It”.
Together with your Albert Kahn Legacy Foundation guide, you’ll learn about the varying styles and constructions of Kahn’s most notable buildings, as well as the revolutionary advancements made by the firm. From the rapid growth his factories stimulated, to his struggles as a new immigrant. From telephone companies to automotive giants, country clubs to synagogues. And everything in between we humbly invite you to explore Kahn’s Detroit.
About the Foundation
The Albert Kahn Legacy Foundation is a non-profit organization that was incorporated on May 14, 2020, to celebrate and preserve the legacy of Albert Kahn, often described as the foremost American industrial architect of the 20th century. His ideas and impact are still felt today.
The Foundation collects, preserves, maintains, displays, and makes available to the public materials related to the life and work of Albert Kahn, so that researchers, students, historians and the general public will know and appreciate how his designs and ideas changed industrial America and helped make Detroit the manufacturing capital of the United States during the first half of the 20th century.
Learn more about the Foundation
Above: A blueprint from Kahn’s 1930s Book of Standards, showing a typical cross section design employed by the firm in many industrial buildings. To the left is an image of the 1922 General Motors Building, Detroit, MI., (2011); To the right is a box of architectural tools typically used to create curves in drawings, n.d. ; (Michael G. Smith photos).
Creator of the Modern Age
Learn More About Albert Kahn
Albert Kahn was among the most famous and prolific industrial architects of the twentieth century. Kahn was the first architect in Detroit and one of the first in America to offer in-house engineering services. This was an important innovation that facilitated the design of the more complex industrial and commercial structures required in the 20th century.
Born to a Jewish family in Germany in 1869, Albert Kahn was the eldest of eight children. At the age of 12, Albert emigrated to Detroit with his family and took on odd jobs to help provide or them. His natural talent for drawing, hardworking nature, and humility led him to become an inspiration for his family, colleagues, and community.
Above, and clockwise from upper left: Albert Kahn (left) and Kahn employee John Schurman inspecting a Victory Sash, 1942. This was a new window design created to save steel during World War II (Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library photo); Fisher Building designed by Albert Kahn, Architects and Engineers and opened in 1928, 2011 (Michael G. Smith photo); The Packard Motor Car Company, Detroit, 1910 (Library of Congress); Albert Kahn Architect and Ernest Wilby Associate, architectural drawing for the front elevation of Hill Memorial Hall (Hill Auditorium), drawn by Wirt C. Rowland and Ernest Wilby, October 5, 1911; Chrysler Corporation’s Dodge Half-Ton Truck Plant Export Building, circa 1938 (Albert Kahn Associates photo). Left: Portrait of Albert Kahn (Albert Kahn Associates photo).