The Packard Plant as a Testament to Automotive Heritage

  • Andreas Luescher
  • Sujata Shetty


This chapter provides a formal introduction to automotive plant closings using an iconic building and manufacturing facility, the Packard Plant in Detroit, as an example. Designed by the legendary industrial architect Albert Kahn, it was famous for being the first reinforced concrete automobile factory in the USA, well known for a number of other structural innovations, and widely considered a world-class facility in its time. The factory ceased production in 1958; now, only the shell of the building remains. Using the Packard Plant as an exemplary case study, we highlight the conditions that had been developing for some time that led to its obsolescence, and we examine struggles to develop a coherent plan for the reuse of this 3.5 million-square-foot complex sprawling across 40 acres. We close the chapter by describing the abiding interest in this site, analyzing architectural plans and models for the plant that have been generated by various architecture competitions.


Albert Kahn Packard Plant Detroit 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Luescher
    • 1
  • Sujata Shetty
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering, Department of Architecture and Environmental DesignBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.Jack Ford Urban Affairs Center, Department of Geography and PlanningThe University of ToledoToledoUSA

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