REMEMBERING ALBERT KAHN
msa - muenster school of architecture, Muenster, Germany
at the occasion of
the 75th anniversary of Albert Kahn's death, dec. 7, 1942.
This short paper is
just a rough outline of our project which we're planning to get realized
during the next year – starting february 2017 on our campus in Muenster,
Germany and finally ending december 7 in Detroit, MI. It is developped by
two architectural professors,
Prof. Juergen Reichardt
Prof. Thorsten Buerklin
(history and theory of architecture) and
(industrial-sociologist and filmmaker) – all of them teaching at msa –
muenster school of architecture.
We intend to
celebrate life and work of
at the occasion of the 75th anniversary of his death on
december 7, 1942.
Our first step in a series of different events as planned is the so-called
Annual on our campus in february 6 to 10, 2017 - with it’s only focus on
the architect Albert Kahn (1869-1942. This Annual combines all different
objects and visual art works, which will be on display at all of the other
winter 2017 following events and will therefore be here described in a
more detailed manner:
This event will
display models of 8 to 10 different Albert Kahn industrial buildings and
3-D-structural and architectural animations, all of them produced by
students of our school during the 2016/17 seminars of the two above
mentioned teacher – Prof. Juergen Reichardt and Prof. Thosten Buerklin.
ALBERT KAHN re-animated)
series of short films highlighting aspects of Albert Kahn’s life and work
will be projected, also produced by students during the last three
semesters in the classes of filmmaker Dieter Marcello.
Bauhaus vs. Albert Kahn,
Albert Kahn – Der italienische Einfluss,
THE SKETCHBOOKS OF ALBERT KAHN,
Albert Kahn/Albert SPEER Sieg vs. Endsieg,
ALBERT SPEER inner and outer architecture,
in and out,
BANDBREITE / wide range,
DIE SPRACHE DER ARCHITEKTUR language of architecture,
These already finished short films will be presented together with still
to-be-done short videos covering Albert Kahn’s drawings from his first
travelling to Italy at the age of 21. The specific format how to display
another series of historic photographs and videos of Albert Kahn's
industrial works as well as showing their 100-year-later status will be
the outcome of our actual research of August/September 2016 in Detroit and
Ann Arbor. The former
Ford assembly plant in Richmond, CA
just serve as an example.
To span a wider
range of visual presentation of Albert Kahn’s work the recently shown
exhibition at the University of Ann Arbor Museum of Art ‘Kahn
Associate Professor, Department of the History of Art and Taubman College
of Architecture and Urban Planning in Ann Arbor will also be presented.
Right now we have talks with
a photograph artist and grand daughter of Albert Kahn to have included her
multmedia artwork on Kahn’s last commission, the
Willow Run bomber plant
which will premiere next month in Ohio and Massachusets.
To mention the
whole arch of visual contributions to this Annual, the just recently and
newly from 35mm negative film to full HD 16:9 video format transfered
version of Dieter Marcello's own theatrical documentary film ‘Albert
Kahn Architect of Modern Times’
will also be shown, as well as his
feature film about Detroit and it's industrial history 'American
We are happy to have Prof. Zimmerman as the leading researcher on Albert
Kahn joining our discussion panel of various academics as the above
mentioned experts, together with Jan Frohberg of University of Limerick,
working on his dissertation on Mies’ van der Rohe (and Kahn’s)
architectural art work ‘orchestra
and the dean and other members of the msa faculty of architecture.
During the course of the Annual prof. Zimmerman will deliver a more
insightfull public lecture of her various studies on Albert Kahn.
The Annual will also be the opportunity to present a new book – mostly
focussing on Albert Kahn’s structural architecture with a larger range of
various contributors, edited by Prof. Reichardt and Prof. Buerklin from
muenster school of Architecture.
We hope to combine this first presentation with the forthcoming newest
Albert Kahn biography of Michael Hodges, Detroit, MI.
In order to prepare
und to do further research and connections a group of three msa master
students and Dieter Marcello are presently working in Detroit and Ann
Arbor to sort out and copy or scan original drawings, photographs and
artwork for the different preparational tasks to be mounted on a wider
display on campus during this event.
We understand the
so-called Annual at our campus in Muenster, focussing on Albert Kahn, as
the first step to three much more public oriented events to celebrate
Albert Kahn and his work.
Our concern is to
broaden the awarenes of the importance of Albert Kahn's work for the
formation of modern architecture as a whole.
Beginning with his
earliest personal and vivid recognition of the principles of renaissance
architecture on his trip to Italy in 1890/91 we try to prove – through
animated presentation of his own drawings as well as historic and actual
photographs of the buildings, which drew up his attention - proving our
understanding that Kahn's sense for the renaissance's ratio and
rationality became the core of his own architectural, organizational and
aesthetic driving force for his lifelong work. So it was not far from his
italian experience to adopt Frederick Winslow Taylor's 'principal of
rational organization' of factory work when he became the outstanding
architect of all of the US automakers when they rose to the leading
driving economic force of the 20th century.
conceptional understanding (which we would very much like to discuss in
advance and during the events) the consecuting arguments are just roughly
Kahn's Industrial work recognized and adopted by the european Bauhaus
architects and theorists – dued to just the aesthetic of his buildings'
Re-transfer to the US through the MOMA exhibiton 'The International Style'
Reenforced concrete and pure steel construction as an ongoing adaptating
process on varying industrial and constructational needs.
Kahn's own method of industrial and rational organization of his own
office became the base of his crucial and finally victorious contribution
to ww2 on both sides of the Allies.
2.1 BERLIN, GERMANY
We are very happy to have the commitment of the Berliner
Akademie der Kuenste,
where we’re also planning to project, display and organize most of the the
above detailed parts of our theme. In Berlin, Germany, the discussing (and
lecturing?) pannel will be enlarged by
Prof. Jean-Louis Cohen,
referring to his outstanding exhibition ‘Architecture
in Montreal, Paris and Rome. This focus on Albert Kahn’s contribution to
the allie’s final victory will furthermore be detailed by
the grand-niece of Albert Kahn’s soviet counterpart, heading the russian
contracting company for all of his work during the first five-year-plan,
beginning with the tractor plant in Stalingrad (later THE producer of
T-34-tanks), which, together with all of the 531 Kahn’s russian industrial
plants, were crucial to withstand and finally defeat the german assault
against Russia. Sonia Melnikowa, an architect, now residing in San
Francisco, has published her paper on these russian works of Albert Kahn
and Stalin’s later purge of all of Albert Kahn’s russian partners, like
Saul G. Bron,
under the title ‘The
Soviet Problem with Two “Unknowns”: How an American Architect and a Soviet
Negotiator Jump-Started the Industrialization of Russia’.
2.2 STUTTGART, Germany
Having Detroit as THE motorcity in our Albert Kahn focus, we’re planning
to refer to Stuttgart as sort of automotive counterpart to Detroit’s
history and presence. How the strikingly different infrastructures of the
two cities' and metro aerea's public transportation system contribute to
their grow, resp. decrease, could be an interesting topic of this event.
In addition to all of the above mentioned visual objects and performances,
we're planning, to take the
plant in Alabama, built by the late and still existing
Albert Kahn firm,
to combine this with the general aspect of use, re-use, altering or
destroying Kahn's up to 100 year old industrial stuctures. Our aim is to
display and discuss this at the
in the city-center at the Schlossplatz, looking down towards the Neues
Schloss. Stuttgart will also be the place to have an insightfull paper or
better: lecturing with pictures-projecting on ‘Detroit’s long lasting
love-affair with Albert Kahn, for which we just recently got the
commitment by the Detroit Free Press senior editor and architectural
2.3 DETROIT, MICHIGAN, USA
To make it clear, we hope to have our most important event here in
Detroit, specifically on december 7, the day Albert Kahn died 75 years
ago, during the war, for which he was crucial in helping to win. In these
recent days we had promising talks with the new owners of the famous
The cathedral-like concourse and the 2000-seats
will be a wonderfull location to honor their architect
of 1928. We are very happy and feel honored to announce that Lawrence
Technical University will be our academic partner in the Detroit metro
aerea to stage this event.
The furthermore detailed outline for this specific event will follow after
our recent stay in the region.
To make happen
these events in Berlin, Stuttgart and Detroit, we’re just starting our
bids and efforts. We all would be happy to anybody’s and any institution’s
wisdom, counseling, means and fonds to bring all of this together.