Albert Kahn Designs for Packard
Albert Kahn had been picked by Henry Joy to design the factory buildings in 1903. At that time, German-born Kahn was a young but brilliant architect who would rise in stature along with the Packard Company and end up designing not only for Packard and its executives but also serving as Ford’s architect for over 30 years, Chrysler’s for close to 20 years, and designing upwards of 150 plants for General Motors. Kahn had designed homes for Henry B. Joy and Alvan Macauley and many of the prominent families in the Detroit area as well.
The designs for the first factory buildings used traditional construction techniques and took only 90 days to build. The completed buildings were turned over to the company on September 22, 1903. In later buildings designed for Packard, after Albert’s brother Julius joined the firm, the first use of concrete reinforced with rods was used. This milestone development allowed for stronger buildings, open space, many windows and, in general, better working conditions for employees.
So when it was time to lay out the Proving Grounds, the Grand Entrance Gates, the Tudor Revival Lodge, the Repair Garage, the Timing Stand, and the oval track — it went without saying that the architect of first choice was Albert Kahn.
- Albert Kahn outdid himself with the beautiful Tudor Revival design of the Lodge.
- The Lodge front door is embellished with brickwork in a creative fan-like design.