Packard® Motor Car
Providing for the Future
Albert Kahn Architect designs Proving Grounds
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 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 Henry B. Joy home "Fair Acres" in Grosse Pointe Farms designed by Albert Kahn in 1911.
The Alvan Macauley home in Grosse Pointe designed by Albert Kahn, with Macauley's '39 Super Eight with Deville top and landau irons in front of the house. Photo to the right shows a '37 115-C station wagon at the rear of the house, through a gateway similar to the ones Kahn designed for the Proving Grounds.
The design for the first factory buildings, used traditional construction techniques, took only 90 days to build, and when completed 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.
The first 8 buildings of the factory as designed by Albert Kahn.
All additional construction used Julius Kahn's new reinforced concrete method.
Albert Kahn added classical trim to the factory as shown in this photo of Billy Mitchell taken in front of the Executive entrance.
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.
From the street, it has the appearance of a grand country estate with beautifully landscaped grounds.
Albert Kahn outdid himself with the beautiful Tudor Revival design of the Lodge.
The Proving Grounds Grand Entrance Gates are similar to the ones Kahn designed for Alvan Macauley's home.
The Lodge front door is embellished with brickwork in a creative fan-like design.
We close this tribute to the design talents of Albert Kahn with a photo of the pedestrian gate in the wall by the Lodge.
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