Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 What would Albert Kahn think now? Previous Next
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Chitaku
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Username: Chitaku

Post Number: 25
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 68.43.107.72
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 10:38 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What do you think people from the early century who really built up the city would think if they saw pictures of what the city looks like now?
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Dialh4hipster
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Username: Dialh4hipster

Post Number: 1520
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.61.187.234
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 10:39 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think they'd be pissed.
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Itsjeff
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Username: Itsjeff

Post Number: 5724
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 208.27.111.125
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 10:39 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think Kahn would think, "MOTHER OF GOD, GET ME OUT OF THIS COFFIN!!!"
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Gravitymachine
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Username: Gravitymachine

Post Number: 971
Registered: 05-2005
Posted From: 198.208.159.20
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 10:55 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think he'd be pissed too, mostly at the brushed aluminum truss on the compuware building
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Smogboy
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Username: Smogboy

Post Number: 2158
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 69.47.100.44
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 11:22 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't think they'd be happy but then I'd like to think that any creative visionary likes to be in an environment like that- I think they'd want to help rectify the situation. There's also a greater chance that a person like that would also have their work stand out that much more in the sea of drab. So I think Albert Kahn would be disappointed in one hand and yet would love the challenge to beautify the place as well.

Was Kahn thoroughly happy even during his time frame though at how the city looked architecturally??

Interesting hypothetical question though!
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Udmphikapbob
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Username: Udmphikapbob

Post Number: 119
Registered: 07-2004
Posted From: 206.81.45.34
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 11:30 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

he'd say "where the hell did General Motors go"?
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Ndavies
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Username: Ndavies

Post Number: 1722
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 129.9.163.106
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 11:54 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Was General Motors known as General Motors when Kahn was doing the majority of his work?

What makes you think Kahn wouldn't be working in the cost effective materials and finishes of today. How do you know that his buildings would look different from the rest of the buildings we are building now? His responsibility would be to the tastes and cost restraints of his current clients, Just like all the other architects ever born.

Would someone born in the late 1800's care about the legacy of a building. At that time they were rapidly tearing down history to put up modern skyscrapers. If he were alive to day I'm sure he would be cheering the demolition of obsolete buildings.



(Message edited by ndavies on March 31, 2006)
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Bertz
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Username: Bertz

Post Number: 539
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.61.15.89
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 1:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

He would shit 30 kittens in 2 seconds
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1953
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Username: 1953

Post Number: 748
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 209.104.146.146
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 1:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think he'd make anacrhonistic racial comments and be working in Oakland County before he knew what hit him.

Also, he'd probably become addicted to internet porn.
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Xd_brklyn
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Username: Xd_brklyn

Post Number: 124
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 66.88.89.94
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 1:07 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Did Albert Kahn philosophize about his architecture like Frank Lloyd Wright did? Their are a number of books by Wright like "The Natural House" and "A Testament" where he goes on about materials, politics, developers, etc. I don't know of any such writings by Kahn. If he had any agenda, it seems like he pretty much kept it to himself. Not to ruin the party, but discussing Kahn's thoughts on architecture without a record of his thoughts is a speculative game at best.

That said, one of the best compliments to Kahn came from FLWright himself. FLW hated and was venomous towards many of the architects of his day, but he respected Albert Kahn. See "Frank Lloyd Wright: Letters to Architects".

Wright admired the pre-war industrial buildings of his day. Their functionality and their creative use to resolve problems of efficiency appealed to him. That Kahn could devote his career to building them, I imagine could have made FLW even a little envious.
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Lowell
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Username: Lowell

Post Number: 2413
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 66.167.58.14
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 1:08 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"I'm sure he would be cheering the demolition of obsolete buildings." Agreed. More work for him designing the new ones.

GM was around during the time he did the majority of his work. Let's not forget he built 400 factories in the Soviet Union in the late 20's - early 30's including the famous Stalingrad Tractor Plant and the massive Magnetogorsk Steel Complex. Yet to come was the Willow Run bomber plant. Then there was that little side job, the GM HQ on Grand Blvd. Kahn designed over 1000 structures in greater Detroit Windsor.
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Sumotect
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Username: Sumotect

Post Number: 181
Registered: 08-2004
Posted From: 64.243.32.9
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 1:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kahn would:

Wonder where the drafting rooms went, with the sea of drafting boards, where all you could see was elbows and assholes.

Who are these people, men and WOMEN???, staring into those funny glowing screens?

Wonder, What the fuck is EIFS?
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Chitaku
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Username: Chitaku

Post Number: 26
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 68.43.107.72
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 1:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was thinking more along the lines of him and the rest of the people who built up this city being really upset and thinking a war hit or something. Imagine them walking around CBD looking at the Book Caddy or Fort Shelby. They would be heartbroken. Then Couzens would see what he did when Eddie Ford made him veto the Subways
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Xd_brklyn
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Username: Xd_brklyn

Post Number: 125
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 66.88.89.94
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 1:28 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Eddie Ford made him veto the Subways"

Do you mean Edsel? And there was a city or state proposal for subways in Detroit in the 20s or 30s?
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Chitaku
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Username: Chitaku

Post Number: 29
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 68.43.107.72
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 1:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yeah, the subway situation came on the table many times. In the 20's the city argued it on and on and on. Couzens originaly vetoed the subway system thanks to his buddies in the auto industry. Then once the depression came, the dream was over. The next chance we got at mass transit was Gerald Ford offering us federal aid for mas transit. However and this may be suprising, the region could not agree obviously and Ford was out of office. We got our money and ended up with the less than adequete Poo-ple Mover! I mean the thing covers 5 miles. Maybe some of us fat Michiganders could use the walk.
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Souldrummer
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Username: Souldrummer

Post Number: 2
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 67.149.237.90
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 1:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Who knows...they designed the buildings that allowed the auto companies to do their work. An effect of that has been expressways and sprawl. I think Kahn would be designing office parks, strip malls,and Kahn McMansions. Didn't most early Detroit businessmen have the same segregationist mindset as most business leaders today?
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Lowell
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Username: Lowell

Post Number: 2417
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 66.167.58.14
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 1:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was at the Fisher building a couple of nights ago. If Kahn walked in there today, I'd bet he would be proud and rightfully so. What a beautiful work of art.
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Xd_brklyn
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Username: Xd_brklyn

Post Number: 126
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 66.88.89.94
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 2:35 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Never heard that about the subways or Edsel's influence there. Always admired Edsel Ford for being one of the more unusual car men in the city's history. The few archived correspondences involving him I've seen make that pretty clear. Well, thanks for that bit of history.
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Rberlin
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Username: Rberlin

Post Number: 455
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 65.43.45.201
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 11:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

One thing he'd probably wonder about is why so many people want to live in his old factories? The old Motor Wheel plant here in Lansing is finally almost done with renovations.
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Futurecity
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Username: Futurecity

Post Number: 262
Registered: 05-2005
Posted From: 69.212.211.62
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 3:35 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

He would be shocked to see how the total domination of automobile culture in this country has ravaged our countryside, our cities and our society.
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Mauser765
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Username: Mauser765

Post Number: 731
Registered: 01-2004
Posted From: 4.229.69.46
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 8:17 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kahn predicted the style of current "architecture" and lamented over the direction toward "steel and glass".
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Rustic
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Username: Rustic

Post Number: 2283
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 71.234.183.131
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 8:44 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

As a prolific architect, nowadays Kahn would be designing and building walmarts, CVW/Walgreens/riteaids, retirement/nursinghomes and prisons all over the country and misc federal government related buildings in the DC suburbs/exurbs. He might have an office in China building factories and magnificent homes for the industrial mega wealthy.

In fact, that last comment makes me wonder if there is a present day chinese "Albert Kahn" in China's mfg boom economy cranking out the hundreds of factories, shops, offices, and homes that are needed ... Yay Detroit!
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Mackinaw
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Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 1328
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 141.213.173.94
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 8:50 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

He might even have issues with what his namesake firm has put out over the last decades.

He'd flip out at the site of Mcmansions.

Louis Kamper, on the the other hand, might just start dancing at the news of the Book-Cadillac renovation. Although Trolley Plaza cannot be too gratifying for him.
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Chitaku
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Username: Chitaku

Post Number: 47
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 68.43.107.72
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 12:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think the majority of early 20th century Detroiters would be really pissed off.
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Cklwbig8
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Username: Cklwbig8

Post Number: 54
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 64.228.209.31
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 12:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They would be disgusted at society as a whole.
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Chitaku
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Username: Chitaku

Post Number: 48
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 68.43.107.72
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 12:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

true dat
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Rustic
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Username: Rustic

Post Number: 2284
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 130.132.177.245
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 1:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Chitaku, doubt it. The majority of early 20th century Detroiters probably got the hell outta town themselves early on or certainly by the early 60's. (For example consider those burgeoning post war metro Detroit suburbs -- they were absolutely NOT populated by auto boom immigrants fresh off the boat from the old country or off the bus from the hills of appalachia or the fields of the deep south. Those towns were initially populated by old timey Detroiters. Hell the real sharpies among the early auto boom generation likely bailed on Michigan for California as soon as the bloom was off the rose in Detroit decades before the shit hit the fan.) Yay Detroit!
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Gumby
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Username: Gumby

Post Number: 1039
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 204.39.225.244
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 7:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It is not like early 20th century Detroit was a utopia guys. Lets not forget the legacy of Ossian Sweet and others like him. I love how we wax poetic about the "good ole days" all the while ignoring the massive social problems they had back then as well.
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Chitaku
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Username: Chitaku

Post Number: 51
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 68.43.107.72
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 8:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What I meant to imply by this post is something I think of when I roll by certain buildings on my rollerblading journeys. I just imagine architechts or investors or the people who made the buildings, and put great pride into something they probably thought would be strong forever, and instead now looks like it was in a war.
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Gumby
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Username: Gumby

Post Number: 1040
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.60.143.186
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 11:41 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I know what you were getting at Chitaku. Too many people seem to think that society was a utopia during the "good old days" and somehow has slipped into mass chaos these days. They are simply ignoring the troubes of the past.

quote:

They would be disgusted at society as a whole.


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Chitaku
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Username: Chitaku

Post Number: 54
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 68.43.107.72
Posted on Sunday, April 02, 2006 - 3:04 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

All that I am saying is that they would be pissed because their once prestigous buildings are ruined
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Gumby
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Username: Gumby

Post Number: 1044
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.60.143.186
Posted on Sunday, April 02, 2006 - 3:10 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No, I know that. Which is why I said that. I pointed out someone who said that they would be disgusted at society.

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