Galleries / Packard Plant - Detroit /

Building Blocks

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Concrete cubes, reinforced with steel, enveloped in glass, repeated thousands and thousands of times produce a dizzying rhythm at the Packard Plant in Detroit. A rhythm first spawned on this location, that would echo through the corridors of the world, revolutionizing industrial construction and providing the backbone for Detroit's automotive industry. This pattern of factory construction, pioneered by Detroit's own Albert Khan, not only fueled the automotive revolution of the city, but quite literally shed light upon the industrial work forces of the world. For the first time in history, factories could be lit by natural light, as Khan's reinforced cube allowed for seemingly endless glass walls that previously would have been solid brick as to help support the structure. The design has such integrity that, over 100 years after the construction of the plant, 60 some years after it's decommission, and 20 years after its abandonment, the plant still stands strong in most areas. So strong in fact, that the cost of demolition permits it's continued existence. While I do not know of any direct links, I cannot help but draw parallels between Khan's factory designs and the mile high glass box skyscrapers that litter skylines around the world today.

Nicolas Boileau