Architecture as technical object. Industrial architecture of Albert Kahn

Luis Pancorbo Crespo, Inés Martín-Robles


Science’s adoption of the mechanistic paradigm promoted the Technological and Industrial Revolution, giving birth to the age of the machine and a new category of materiality, Technical Objects. Twentieth century widespread prevalence of mechanical paradigm in architecture, adopting the technique as rector of architectural activity, and the use of rational and scientific premises in the design process, marked the birth of modern architecture. The industrial work of Albert Kahn played an important role in this genesis, which transports to architecture the project procedure used by engineers to create technical objects. This research seeks to itemize and revalue this influence, which we believe is vital although it has had little critical fortune. The current replacement of the mechanical paradigm in architecture by a new thermo-dynamical paradigm, embodied by the Modern Movement, and forced by new models of sustainability and energy saving, puts back into the frontline certain industrial works of Albert Kahn, in which the management of environmental conditions plays a prominent role in the genesis of the project.


Fordism; mechanical paradigm; thermo-dynamical paradigm; technique; Albert Kahn

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