The Packard Plant as a Testament to Automotive Heritage
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.
KeywordsAlbert Kahn Packard Plant Detroit
- Borden, I. (2013). Drive: Journeys Through Film, Cities and Landscapes. London: Reaktion Books.Google Scholar
- Clutter, M. (2016). Notes on Ruin Porn. The Avery Review, 18, 1–9. http://averyreview.com/issues/18/notes-on-ruin-porn. Accessed 26 June 2018.
- Darley, G. (2003). Factory. London: Reaktion Books.Google Scholar
- Ferry, H. (1968). The Buildings of Detroit: A History. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.Google Scholar
- Ferry, H. (1970). The Legacy of Albert Kahn. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.Google Scholar
- Geddes, N. (1945). Toledo Tomorrow. Toledo: The Blade.Google Scholar
- Hildebrand, G. (1974). Designing for Industry: The Architecture of Albert Kahn. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Huxtable, A. (1957). Reinforced-Concrete Construction. Progressive Architecture, 38(9), 139–142.Google Scholar
- Jordana, S. (2014). Reanimate the Ruins International Design Competition. https://www.archdaily.com/500424/reanimate-the-ruins-international-design-competition Accessed 26 June 2018.
- Miller, J. (2018, February 21). Road to Nowhere: How Infrastructure Built on American Inequality. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/feb/21/roads-nowhere-infrastructure-american-inequality. Accessed 26 June 2018.
- Nelson, G. 1939. Industrial Architecture of Albert Kahn, Inc. New York, NY: Architectural Book.Google Scholar
- Olsen, B., & Cabadas, J. (2002). The American Auto Factory. St. Paul, MN: MBI.Google Scholar
- Shetty, S., & Luescher, A. (2010). Inter-disciplinarity in Urban Design: Erasing Boundaries Between Architects and Planners in Urban Design Studios. Open House International, 3, 87–97.Google Scholar
- Silverman, J. (1982). Toledo’s Inner City Industrial Park. Urban Design International, 1(26–28), 48.Google Scholar
- Speck, L. (2012). Futurama. In D. Albrecht (Ed.), Norman Bel Geddes Designs America: I Have Seen the Future (pp. 288–303). New York, NY: Abrams.Google Scholar
- Sugrue, T. (n.d.). Automobile in American Life and Society, from Motor City to Motor Metropolis: How the Automobile Industry Reshaped Urban America. http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu/Race/R_Overview/R_Overview.htm. Accessed 26 June 2018.
- Transformers: The Last Knight. (2017). Film directed by Michael Bay. Hollywood: Paramount Pictures Corporation.Google Scholar
- Wells, C. (2012). Car Country: An Environmental History. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
- Wilkinson, C. (1991). Supersheds: The Architecture of Long-Span, Large-Volume Buildings. Oxford, UK: Butterworth Architecture.Google Scholar
- Wood, J., & Wood, M. (Eds.). (2003). Henry Ford: Critical Evaluations in Business and Management (Vol. 1). London: Routledge.Google Scholar