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November 06, 1987 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-11-06

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PURELY COMMENTARY

Architectural Creativity Enriches Our Community

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

C

ulturally, industrially, in the
social services and in a variety
of other ways, this community
has made great contributions to the na-
tion and mankind.
Notable evidence in the respect of
creativity is in the realm of architec-
ture. A convincing elaboration is provid-
ed in a richly illustrated, impressively
defined volume about one of the very
great in architecture. In The Legacy of
Albert Kahn (Wayne State University
Press), the subject covers a vast area
that includes a personality depicted as
well as his artistic Albert Kahn firm,
with the university that has issued the
present volume and with the articles
associated in the notable volume.
Of very special interest in this work
is the evaluation of the role played in
the Kahn firm by Sol King and his ar-
chitectural accomplishments. .
The Legacy of Albert Kahn first ap-
peared as a catalogue in a long-ranging
and popular exhibit in 1970 in the
Detroit Institute of Arts. W. Hawkins
Ferry was the executive director of the
Art Institute. The present hard-cover
1987 edition has an introductory essay
by Walter B. Sanders.
Albert Kahn, the genius and the ar-
chitectural dynasty that emerged with
his name, have become so intimately ,
allied with this city and state that both
would be impoverished, their histories
incomplete, without the creations bear-
ing his name.
The massive structures of industrial
plants, universities, immense institu-

Albert Kahn

Sol King

tions, synagogues and temples have tire state were designed by him and his
become the creations of Albert Kahn firm. They include the Univesity of
and his associates.
Michigan Hill Auditorium and other
This land boasts about immigrants campus structures, General Motors and
who have contributed toward the Fisher buildings, Belle Isle Conser-
greatness of America. Albert Kahn vatory, many hospitals and private
began as a novice in his profession and mansions — all in the long list
as an employee of architects who creditable to the Kahn name.
benefited from his visions, and soon he
The most important structure ac-
became the great creator whose skills credited to him is the Washington Post
will surely remain guides for genera- Building in the nation's capital.
tions who follow him. The Legacy of
Two Temple Beth El buildings and
Albert Kahn recounts these triumphs. the Shaarey Zedek are among the Kahn
There is hardly an area, industrial- accomplishments. There are several
ly, culturally, representing peoplehood, bank buildings, National Bank and
that doesn't have the imprint of the Detroit Bank and Trust, which are in
Kahn name. Buildings dotting this en- the realm of the firm's achievements.

Albert Kahn was a master in draw-
ing into his firm outstanding architects.
Sol King, an immigrant lad who show-
ed architectural skill, was among
Albert Kahn's immediate successors to
the firm's presidency. King joined the
firm in 1935 upon graduation from the
University of Michigan. He attained an
important role in the firm and on the
national architectural scene. In The
Legacy of Albert Kahn are these
references to Sol King:
The resurgence of the firm's
architectural design capabilities
began in 1955. As a vice presi-
dent, Sol King set about restruc-
turing the design staff to meet
the needs for a broadened base
of practice, and one year later
was electd director of architec-
ture. The resources developed to
meet the demands of the
emergency decade of World War
II and the immediate post-war
years served as a platform from
which to launch a new and con-
certed effort to recapture a
balance between institutional,
commercial, and industrial com-
missions .. .
By 1958, when Sol King
became president, the firm was
well embarked on its new
course and there followed a
series of distinguished buildings
that matched in quality those
produced by the firm's founder,
Albert Kahn. Receiving either
honor awards or citations for
the excellence of their design, in-
cluding the National Bank of

Continued on Page 46

Gershwin Biographed And Acclaimed In Concert

Jablonski (Doubleday) invites so much
attention and is so valuable during the
months when the Gershwin anniver-
sary is commemorated. But the name
and his works will always be among the
most appealing to music lovers.
Therefore the need to commend an
important Detroit social and
humanitarian cause for having joined
music-lovers everywhere in paying
honor to the name that has become a
symbol for notable achievements and
his creations. To JARC (Jewish Associa-
tion for Retarded Citizens) merits ap-
preciation for making its annual event
of the year, on Nov. 18, a time to enjoy
the Gershwin music and to salute the
visiting artists who will sing and inter-
pret the fascinating Gershwin themes.
Therefore, representatives of the
Detroit Jewish community hosted by
A
JARC will have opportunity to hear
George Gershwin
able musicians sing and interpret
George Gershwin was a legend in Swanee, selections from Rhapsody in
his lifetime. He dominated the musical Blue, Funny Face, Porgy and Bess, Strike
era, that his compositions made Up the Band and many more.
memorable for all time.
The biography of Gershwin attains
Therefore the 50th anniversary of great significance. The biographer, Ed-
his untimely death at age 38 is a time ward Jablonski, a friend of the Ger- .
for acclaim for one of the very great of shwin family for many years, writes as
our own time. The story of the genius, authoritatively about George's brother,
Gershwin: A Biography, by Edward Ira Gershwin, as about the hero of a

powerfully depicted life story of the man
pearance at one of the Winter
he admired. Jablonski authored other
Garden Sunday Night Concerts
works about Gershwin. As an intimate
(the then current production at
associate of Ira he also relates his story
the Winter Garden was The
and his role as lyricist for the George
Passing Show of 1919). After the
Gershwin music.
concert, Gershwin and DeSylva
went to the party for Jolson. As
There is so much about Gershwin
was his wont, Gershwin in-
and his era that the Jablonski account
evitably got to the piano; among
reads like a novel and fairy tale. George
the songs he played was the
Gershwin's life story is a tale about an
disappointingly nonpopular
entire musical era. Al Jolson, Irwin
Swanee. Gershwin's kinetic per-
Berlin, Jerome Kern and many more
formance immediately caught
pass in review in the life of a master in
Continued on Page 46
his field.

One of the most fascinating
episodes in the Gershwin life story is
about Swanee, which charmed Al
Jolson and made him famous. Jolson
himself, in turn, made the song and its
composer famous. In reality, Swanee
was ignored at the outset. But at an
afterglow after a concert, an entire era
began for an ignored ballad. As Jablon-
ski relates it:

Al Jolson had returned brief-
ly to the Winter Garden while
touring with his successful Sin-
bad, which had been around for
more than a year. He had return-
ed to New York to do some
recording and to make an ap-

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
(US PS 275-520) is published every Friday
with additional supplements the fourth
week of March, the fourth week of August
and the second week of November at
20300 Civic Center Drive, Southfield,
Michigan.

Second class postage paid at Southfield,
Michigan and additional mailing offices.

Postmaster: Send changes to:
DETROIT JEWISH NEWS, 20300 Civic
Center Drive, Suite 240, Southfield,
Michigan 48076

$24 per year
$26 per year out of state
60' single copy

Vol. XCII No. 11

November 6, 1987

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