June 20, 2021

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Famed German architect Helmut Jahn dies in Illinois bicycle accident at 81 – NBC News

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Famed German architect Helmut Jahn died Saturday after being struck by two vehicles while riding his bike. He was 81.

Jahn was biking in Campton Hills, about 60 miles west of Chicago, when he was killed, according to the town’s police.

Police say Jahn was hit by two vehicles going in opposite directions after he failed to stop at an intersection, but details surrounding incident remain unconfirmed.

One of the drivers left the scene unharmed, and another was treated an unspecified non-life threatening injury. Police did not name the other two people involved in the incident.

Jahn was famous in Chicago and worldwide for his innovative and postmodern architecture.

He designed one of the most controversial buildings in the Windy Cindy, the James R. Thompson Building, used for government offices. It was recently put up for sale by the state, which said it became a financial drain.

He’s also responsible for the famous colorful walkway in the United Airlines terminal of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was among the chorus of voices that offered their condolences to Jahn’s family.

“Jahn was one of the most inventive Chicago architects whose impact on the city — from the skyline to the O’Hare tunnel — will never be forgotten,” the mayor wrote on Twitter.

“Our AIA community was hit hard over the weekend with the tragic death of one of our longtime, famed members, Helmet Jahn,” the American Institute of Architects Illinois chapter said on Twitter. “We are deeply saddened at the loss of one of Chicago’s true talents and thinking of his family and friends during this difficult time.

A profile posted on the website of his firm, Jahn, says he was born in Germany in 1940 and graduated from Technische Hochschule in Munich. He moved to Chicago in 1966 to study under legendary architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a creator of modernist architecture, at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Jahn’s professional career began in 1967 when he joined CF Murphy Associates, which later became Murphy/Jahn. He worked on several major projects in the U.S. aside from the Thompson Building and the United Airlines terminal, including Chicago’s McCormick Place and Washington D.C.’s J Edgar Hoover Building, the FBI headquarters.

Jahn’s work internationally includes the Sony Center in Berlin and the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand.

Jahn taught at the University of Illinois Chicago, Harvard University, Yale University and the Illinois Institute of Technology.

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