World-famous architect Helmut Jahn killed in bike crash

Helmut Jahn, a renowned German architect who designed several major projects around the world, was killed over the weekend after two cars struck the bicycle he was riding in a Chicago suburb.

The 81-year-old was biking Saturday afternoon in Campton Hill, about an hour west of Chicago, when he failed to stop at a stop sign and was hit by two vehicles going in opposite directions, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The two occupants of the first vehicle, a Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV, were not hurt, and the driver of the Hyundai Sonata that was also involved was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.

Jahn was born in Germany in 1940 and moved to Chicago in 1966 to study under legendary architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It was in Chicago that he designed some of his best-known projects over a decades-long career.a man wearing a suit and tie: CORRECTS TO WEST, NOT EAST - FILE - In this Wednesday, July 15, 1998 file photo, architect Helmut Jahn tours a construction site in Berlin. Jahn, 81, was killed when two vehicles struck the bicycle he was riding on Saturday afternoon, May 8, 2021, while riding north on a village street in Campton Hills, about 55 miles west of Chicago. (AP Photos/Jockel Finck)Architect Helmut Jahn

His work includes Chicago’s Thompson Center and McCormick Place, the United Airlines terminal at O’Hare International Airport, the One Liberty Place skyscraper in Philadelphia, the Sony Center in Berlin and the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand.

“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,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a tweet Sunday. “His architectural footprint will be felt & seen across the globe for generations to come.”

Jahn also helped design the J Edgar Hoover Building, the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., and taught at the University of Illinois, Harvard University, Yale University and the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Jahn rose to fame with his “progressive architecture,” which earned him numerous design awards around the world, according to a biography on his official website. He believed the continuous innovation of architecture was more about “the elimination of the inessential, than inventing something new,” the website says.

“He wasn’t afraid of history and he didn’t think it should be disregarded,” Reed Kroloff, dean of the College of Architecture at IIT, told The Chicago Tribune on Sunday. “And he was very comfortable trying to strike emotional chords in the viewers and users of his buildings. You can see it all over the place.”

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