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Helmut Jahn (born January 4, 1940) is a German-American architect, well
known for designs such as the US$800 million Sony Center on the
Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, the Messeturm in
Frankfurt and the One Liberty Place, formerly the
tallest building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Suvarnabhumi
Airport, an international airport in Bangkok, Thailand.
Jahn was born in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1940. After attending the Technical University of Munich from 1960 to 1965, he worked with Peter C. von Seidlein for a year. In 1966, he emigrated to Chicago to further study architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, leaving school without earning his degree.
In 1967, he joined C. F. Murphy Associates as a protégé of Gene Summers and was appointed Executive Vice President and Director of Planning and Design of the firm in 1973. Taking sole control from 1981, the firm was renamed Murphy/Jahn, although the aged Murphy had retired and died a few years later in 1985.
Generally inspired by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, yet opposed to the doctrinal application of modernism by his followers, in 1978, Jahn became the eighth member of the Chicago Seven. Despite a rocky start when the roof of his first major project Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri collapsed in 1979, Jahn established his pre-eminent reputation in 1985 with the State of Illinois Center in Chicago which prompted him to be dubbed "Flash Gordon."
Jahn has grown the business into a global architectural practice that consistently ranks among top 20 United States architectural firms in terms of gross annual billings. In addition to the original company seat in Chicago, Murphy/Jahn also maintain offices in Berlin and Shanghai.
An illuminated, suspended, oval roof covers the 102 m span of the central Forum of the Sony Center, Berlin.
O'Hare Airport - interior view of the connecting tunnel between Concourses B & C of Terminal 1, with Michael Hayden's neon installation Sky's the Limit (1987).
James R. Thompson Center
1999 K Street, NW in Washington, D.C.
Messeturm (Fair Tower), Frankfurt
The Post Tower (Postal Tower), Bonn