The University of Michigan Museum of Art unveiled its exhibit Saturday featuring the work of architect Albert Kahn. Kahn, born in 1869, designed numerous buildings on campus as well as several Ford Motor Company production plants.
The exhibit displays a variety of sights such as a timeline outlining the architect”s life, some of his original drawings and other artistic endeavors, photographs and small models of Kahn”s most prominent designs.
“Architecture is a public art and as such it is a part of that world,” said Prof. Brian Carter, academic programs chair of the Taubman School of Architecture. “As a result we wanted to try and make this exhibition not just about architecture but one that reflected the world,”
Carter added, “In this exhibition, Kahn”s work is recorded in architectural drawings and the specially built models that have been researched and constructed by students from the architecture program here at Michigan.”
He said the exhibit showcases the hard work and collaboration that has been put forth between the School of Architecture and the staff at the Museum of Art.
“(Kahn) had designed an extraordinary range of buildings offices, houses factories, educational buildings and hospitals and all in an equally wide range of different styles,” Carter said.
Kahn”s designs include West Hall, Hill Auditorium, Burton Tower, the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library and Angell Hall.
“(Kahn”s designs) stick out in peoples minds. He is a historical part of this campus,” said Taubman School of Architecture alum Shana Shevitz. “If all the buildings on campus were spectacular we would forget about (Kahn”s) truly memorable ones.”
One of Kahn”s earliest industrial works was the Ford Highland Park Plant. The plant was the first to manufacture Henry Ford”s Model-T and is considered to be the birthplace of the moving assembly line. With the advent of Kahn”s designs, production times decreased significantly.
“Albert Kahn”s industrial architecture came to symbolize the spirit of innovation and contributed profoundly to the modernist aesthetic,” stated a sign at the exhibit.
Kahn”s ties to the University stretched beyond art and design. Kahn”s brother, Julius, received an engineering degree from the University, and Kahn himself received an honorary degree.
“Albert Kahn exhibit is predicted to draw in a crowd,” said LSA junior Wesley Vaughn. This exhibit will be “especially popular around the University community, Architecture and Engineering students will definitely come in an take a look at it,” he said.