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Although his father was a rabbi, Kahn had little formal education. Nevertheless, he rose to become a pre-eminent architect who helped create industrial America in the first half of the 20th century. He and his firm designed more than 1,000 buildings for Ford and several hundred for GM, as well as swank homes and imposing corporate headquarters of those company’s owners and managers. He designed buildings for the Dodge Brothers, Walter Chrysler and the Fisher Brothers, and in the 1930s, while he was serving these titans of automotive capitalism, his firm built more than 500 factories in the Soviet Union. Kahn’s great Ford factory in River Rouge, Mich., was the most impressive — and largest — architectural expression of the modern industrial age.

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