Famed German architect Helmut Jahn, 81, killed in Illinois bike accident

U.S. & World

BERLIN, GERMANY – JULY 03: Architect Helmut Jahn attends a reception held by German President Joachim Gauck at Schloss Bellevue palace on July 3, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. Gauck honoured architects Helmut Jahn, Meinhard von Gerkan und Gottfried Boehm on their birthdays at an event attended by many of Germany’s top domestic and international architects. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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December 25 2021 12:00 am

CHICAGO (AP) — Helmut Jahn, a prominent German architect who designed Chicago’s state government building and worked on the design of the FBI headquarters in Washington, was killed when two vehicles struck the bicycle he was riding in Illinois.

Jahn, 81, was struck Saturday afternoon while riding north on a village street in Campton Hills, about 55 miles east of Chicago. Jahn failed to stop at a stop sign at an intersection and was struck by the two vehicles, headed in opposite directions, Campton Hills Police Chief Steven Miller said in a news release.

Jahn was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Authorities say the driver of one of the vehicles that struck Jahn was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

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, including Chicago’s McCormick Place and the J Edgar Hoover Building, the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

One of his more controversial buildings was the James R. Thompson Building, a glass-sheathed, Illinois government office building in Chicago’s Loop that opened in 1985. It was put up for sale last week. State officials say the 17-story building is a drain on state finances because it’s inefficient to operate and in need of hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs.

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

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