Exploring The Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant

October 12, 2011 15 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

In an effort to promote the preservation of Jacksonville's historic Ford Motor Company assembly plant by Hill Street, LLC., DOCOMOMO US/Florida, AIA Jacksonville, and Old Arlington, Inc., the property was open on Saturday, Oct. 8 for public tours.

Notes on the Jacksonville Ford Assembly Plant

A view of the assembly plant's exterior in 1948.

The Jacksonville Ford assembly plant is one of 1,000 buildings designed by Albert Kahn for Ford.  The building was one of 16 satellite plants constructed after Kahn's one-story, steel-framed model was perfected with Ford's Rouge River complex in Detroit.  The general design of the plant allowed railcars to enter on one side, with parts, engines, stampings, etc., and finished vehicles to exit from the other side.  Kahn's practical approach complemented Henry Ford's notions of optimal efficiency.

Kahn's designs for industrial facilities revolutionized factory design.  His impact extended overseas, where hundreds of Kahn-designed plants materialized - principally in the former Soviet Union.  He was influential in other ways.  Pioneers of modern architecture in the Bauhaus and elsewhere visited, admired, and imitated his work.  Artists were sufficiently impressed with Kahn's factories, which are represented in paintings and photographs by Diego Rivera, Charles Sheeler, and others.

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