TARGET SITES


The Path of Kahn course enabled us to experience a full range of architecture exhibiting both the practical function and the aesthetic function, which is an absolutely relevant distinction today. Seeing Kahn’s pragmatism against the monumental moves of these core European buildings allowed us to perform an examination of fundamental issues of the architectural field. Reyner Banham points out in A Concrete Atlantis, from which we read during our travels,that the buildings we set out to study during this course were built by some of the first architects and engineers to receive influence from photographic images. In many ways, architecture itself becomes about presenting a certain image—even when experiencing a building in three-dimensions, as it stands, it still preforms a sort of role as image. A Path of Kahn student wrote during our post travel reflection period:

“For me, Kahn’s influence lies just a step above the grain elevators that Gropius published in 1913. Neither Kahn nor the grain elevators set out to change the scope of architecture. Both, however, through their form, scale, and use of modern materials were able to aid these European architects in the creation of modern masterpieces.”

We went to Europe and subsequently to Detroit to push this paradigm so frequently assigned to Kahn—to find out what more Kahn’s Detroit factories meant then, and what they mean for architecture today.

The Path of Kahn course enabled us to experience a full range of architecture exhibiting both the practical function and the aesthetic function, which is an absolutely relevant distinction today. Seeing Kahn’s pragmatism against the monumental moves of these core European buildings allowed us to perform an examination of fundamental issues of the architectural field. Reyner Banham points out in A Concrete Atlantis, from which we read during our travels,that the buildings we set out to study during this course were built by some of the first architects and engineers to receive influence from photographic images. In many ways, architecture itself becomes about presenting a certain image—even when experiencing a building in three-dimensions, as it stands, it still preforms a sort of role as image. A Path of Kahn student wrote during our post travel reflection period:

“For me, Kahn’s influence lies just a step above the grain elevators that Gropius published in 1913. Neither Kahn nor the grain elevators set out to change the scope of architecture. Both, however, through their form, scale, and use of modern materials were able to aid these European architects in the creation of modern masterpieces.”

We went to Europe and subsequently to Detroit to push this paradigm so frequently assigned to Kahn—to find out what more Kahn’s Detroit factories meant then, and what they mean for architecture today.

Site Reports

Before all eight of us met in London for the inception of the course, we were assigned individually or with a partner to research, in depth, one of the five core factories. From this pre-travel research, we drafted site reports as a way of familiarizing ourselves with at least one of the main structures, while providing a document that could be distributed to the rest of the group. Each student presented their respective travel reports either before a guided tour of the building or on site, as an efficient way of sharing knowledge and learning as a collective unit.

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