In the period 1919–22, two events catalyzed General Motors’ nascent dominance in the automotive industry: the company built a monumental headquarters in Detroit, designed by Albert Kahn Associates and located on what was then the periphery of the city; and a restructuring of the corporation was enacted at the behest of several newly appointed executives, including Alfred P. Sloan. In “Actual Center of Detroit”: Method, Management, and Decentralization in Albert Kahn's General Motors Building, Michael Abrahamson explores the conjunction between these events, arguing that both manifest a struggle with immense size. To cope with the bigness of buildings, corporations, and urban environments, GM and the Kahn firm developed strategies that set the agenda for architectural practice, corporate management, and urban development for the twentieth-century United States. Together, these strategies reveal the entwined forces that influenced the design of the General Motors Building.
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Research Article| March 01 2018
“Actual Center of Detroit”: Method, Management, and Decentralization in Albert Kahn's General Motors Building
University of Michigan
Michael Abrahamson is a designer, critic, and PhD candidate in architectural history. His writing has appeared in journals, magazines, and newspapers such as San Rocco, the Architectural Review, and The Sunday Times (London). His research focuses on the interplay between art and business in twentieth-century architectural practice. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (2018) 77 (1): 56–76.
Michael Abrahamson; “Actual Center of Detroit”: Method, Management, and Decentralization in Albert Kahn's General Motors Building. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 1 March 2018; 77 (1): 56–76. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jsah.2018.77.1.56
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