Amerikanische Bekleidung. Semper's technique in the work of Albert Kahn

Luis Pancorbo Crespo, Inés Martín-Robles

Abstract

This paper proposes a reinterpretation of Albert Kahn's work through the architectural theories of Semper in order to answer certain questions that have persisted about his work, such as, what is the reason for the heterogeneity of his industrial and non-industrial work and what is the relationship between his radical technical innovations and contemporary tradition. Both questions can be answered by an analysis of Kahn’s work through design tools inherited from Gottfried Semper: Bekleidung, the coating principle, and Stoffwechsel. We establish a parallel study of Kahn's work and the work of other architects in which it is documented the strong influences of these theories. We focus in our analysis on Kahn's industrial architecture, since it is not conceivable that Semper’s influence, so evident in its office, commercial and public buildings, would not have any permeability in his industrial work. To demonstrate this influence, we examine buildings that bridge the gap between the industrial and non-industrial design such as the complex for the U.S Aviation School in Langley Field, Virginia and the Natural Science Building in Ann Arbor, Michigan, among others.


Keywords

Albert Kahn; Industrial Architecture; Gottfried Semper; Karl Bötticher; Chicago Commercial Style

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References

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