Famed post-modernist architect Helmut Jahn dies in a bike crash in Chicago's suburb

Famed German American architect, Helmut Jahn has tragically passed away in a road accident on May 8, 2021, aged 81. It was reported that he was hit by two vehicles while he was bicycling in the western suburb of Chicago. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Born in Germany, Jahn came to USA in 1966 to study at the Illinois Institute of Technology on a Rotary Scholarship in Chicago, earning him his Master's degree in 1967. Following this, Jahn joined architecture firm, C. F. Murphy Associates in 1967 and later took control of the firm, renaming it Murphy/Jahn in 1981.

Helmut Jahn was never shy of using a traditional motif, solid geometrical shapes or pastel colours in his designs. Inspired by the modernist movement, he later adopted a high-tech stylization and became the eighth member of the Chicago Seven. Dubbed as "Flash Gordon" by his peers, he was committed to improving our built environment and delivering buildings constructed on a high level of technical precision.


Jahn came to fame in 1985 through his work with the State of Illinois Centre in Chicago, which saw his firm work extensively in Chicago. Later, he would work on landmark commissions including One Liberty Place, Philadelphia's tallest building (1987-1990, at the time of its completion) and Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport (2006). He maintained his association with Germany when he worked on the landmark Sony Centre on the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin (2000), known as a significant redevelopment project in Germany.

He later taught at the University of Illinois Chicago Campus, Harvard University and Yale University. He is survived by his wife, Deborah Ann Lampe and their son, Evan.





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