Remembering Chicago Architect Helmut Jahn

The famed German-American architect Helmut Jahn, known across Chicago for such titular works as the Thompson Center, and for our office building in Chicago (55 W. Monroe), died May 8.  The German-born architect was struck by two vehicles while riding his bicycle.

Born outside Nuremberg in 1940, Jahn saw the city destroyed and rebuilt in the midst of the Second World War. After studying at the Technical University of Munich from 1960 to 1965, he traveled to Chicago, where he landed a one-year scholarship at Illinois Institute of Technology. Anxious to build, he left school and landed a position under Gene Summers, the “right-hand man” of famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Never one to stay stationary for long, Jahn designed impressive buildings across the globe including the Sony Center in Berlin; the Messeturm in Frankfurt; One Liberty Place in Philadelphia; ThyssenKrupp Test Tower in Rottweil, Germany, and the Mansueto Library in Chicago.

helmut jahn sony center
The Sony Center in Berlin, Germany. Designed by Jahn, the building was completed in 2000.

A true visionary, Jahn will be missed in many circles. We send our condolences to Jahn’s family, friends, and colleagues, and may all those who enter or pass by his structures feel reverence for this central figure in Chicago’s, and America’s, architectural landscape.