Richmond in Contra Costa County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
The Ford Assembly Building
"Quality means doing it right when no one is looking." -- Henry Ford
The Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant in Richmond, California was constructed in the 1930s to produce the new Ford Model A. The factory influenced the development of the inner harbor and port, and as the largest automobile assembly plant on the West Coast, it boosted the local and regional economy during the Great Depression.
Designed by the renowned 20th-century industrial architect Albert Kahn, the 525,000 square foot Ford Assembly Building utilizes natural light from a vast array of windows and skylights (Kahn's trademark "daylight factory"), and has the open-space environment typical of his structures.
Sometimes called 'the architect of Detroit', Albert Kahn worked on more than 1000 commissions from Henry Ford and hundreds from other automakers. The Ford Assembly Building is one of approximately sixty Albert Kahn buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
"Architecture is 90% business, 10% art." -- Albert Kahn
During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt
On the Home Front, women and men, African Americans, minorities and whites, worked side by side of the first time in American history to meet the monumental production demands essential to winning the war.
After World War II, the devastation to the local economy as a result of the closing of the Kaiser Shipyards would have been crippling, had it not been for the continued production of the Ford Assembly Plant. However, the last car rolled out in 1953. Due to inability to accommodate increased productivity demands, the facility closed in 1956 after Ford transferred production to a new San Jose plant.
The building served briefly as a film set, book depository, and lab, and was largely underused for decades.
In 1989, the Loma Prieta Earthquake severely damaged the Ford Assembly Building. Demolition was contemplated, as developers
Orton Development, Inc., with Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects completed the rehabilitation of the 525,000 square foot Ford Assembly Building in 2009. Today, research & development, office, retail, and industrial tenants enjoy state-of-the-art amenities in the historic building. The original south-facing sawtooth roof supports a one-megawatt solar power plant.
The project has won multiple design and sustainability awards, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation Design Award in 2008, and the AIA Honor Award for Architecture in 2011.
The 45,000 square foot bay front Craneway Pavilion, the southernmost portion of the complex, now offers the finest event space in the Bay Area, with stunning architecture and breathtaking views. A 100-seat restaurant is stationed amongst the restored original equipment of the historic Boiler Room. The former Oil House is home to the NPS Rosie the Riveter World War II.Home Front Visitor Education Center.
Location. 37° 54.549′ N, 122° 21.458′ W. Marker is in Richmond, California Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1414 Harbor Way South, Richmond CA 94804, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Home Front Legacy (within shouting distance of this marker); "Victory ships were a bigger, complicated ship." (approx. half a mile away); "I was truly there and did my part to the end." -- Addie Mae Cance, former shipyard worker (approx. half a mile away); "It was a real workhorse." -- Jim Cannon, Marketing Director, Levin-Richmond Terminal Corp (approx. half a mile away); Dynamic Wartime Port (approx. 0.6 miles away); War Boomtown (approx. 0.7 miles away); Rosie the Riveter Memorial (approx. 0.7 miles away); Wartime Changes (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
Also see . . .
1. Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant. Ford became Richmond's third largest employer, behind Standard Oil and the Santa Fe Railroad. It is also an outstanding example of 20th-century industrial architecture designed by architect Albert Kahn, known for his "daylight factory" design, which employed extensive window openings that became his trademark. (Submitted on May 22, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
2. The Rabbi's Son Who Built Detroit -- Forward. Albert Kahn is Americaís forgotten architect — even though in his lifetime, he (and his firm) produced more buildings than any other architect, and his design and production method changed the face of the country. Eighty years before the bailout of the auto industry, just before the Great Depression, Kahn built the most opulent of Detroitís new corporate skyscrapers — the Art Deco-style Fisher Building. Facing the GM headquarters, Kahnís grandest expression of civic architecture defined the unique American union of commercial and civic identity. (Submitted on May 22, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
3. Albert Kahn: 400 Buildings in Metro Detroit -- I Love Detroit Michigan. The true breadth of Albert Kahnís creative genius has yet to be fully expressed onlineÖ.until now. (Submitted on May 22, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
4. Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant -- World War II in the Bay Area -- National Park Service. To ensure that America prepared for total war by mobilizing all the industrial might of the United States, President Franklin D. Roosevelt banned the production of civilian automobiles during WWII. The Richmond Ford Assembly Plant switched to assembling jeeps and to putting the finishing touches on tanks, half-tracked (Submitted on May 22, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Notable Buildings •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 22, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 206 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on May 22, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.