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Burroughs Company, at Detroit, Michigan, 1904.
(b. Rhaunen, Germany 1869; d. New York, N.Y. 1942)
Albert Kahn was born in Rhaunen, Germany in 1869. In 1884, four years after emigrating to the U.S. Kahn joined the architectural firm of Mason & Rise. Eventually, he became the firm's principal architect and chief designer. In 1891, during his tenure with Mason & Rise, he visited Europe on a scholarship award. In 1896 Kahn established a partnership with George Nettleton and Alexander Trowbridge which dissolved in 1900. In 1902 Kahn established his own practice.
Although his early work was unassuming, Kahn achieved a breakthrough in 1906 with his single storey, top-lit modular design for the George N. Pierce Plant in Buffalo, New York. Designed to uniform lighting and physical flexibility, it rapidly became the prototype for American factory design, particularly in the emerging motor industry.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Kahn was not inclined to "romanticize the machine". Extensions of user needs, his designs provided efficient and practical solutions to a growing industrial environment. By the late 1930s Kahn employed over 600 people and was responsible for nearly a fifth of the industrial buildings within the U.S.
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"", by Louis Bergeron and Maria Teresa Maiullari-Pontois, ArchitectureWeek No. 25, 2000.1101, pC1.1.
Louis Bergeron and Maria Teresa Maiullari-Pontois. Industry, Architecture, and Engineering: American Ingenuity 1750-1950. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. ISBN 0810934736. Available at Amazon.com
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