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Left: Berlin Sony Center, Right:Black and white photo of Helmut Jahn

Chicago lost a radiant star with the recent death of Helmut Jahn (1940-2021). Known for the creation of progressive, often provocative buildings around the globe, Jahn’s talent, style and charisma also caught the attention of the world beyond design aficionados, having received nearly every architectural accolade over the course of his career.

Born in Germany, Jahn came to Chicago in 1966 to study at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). With an education rooted in formal modernism, he began forging a career in his adopted hometown with bold works that both extrapolated from and challenged modernist orthodoxy. Helmut Jahn: Life + Architecture presents important designs by the powerhouse architect, ranging from signature early projects like Chicago’s dazzlingly provocative James R. Thompson Center (1985) to the forward-looking Pritzker Military Archives Center, currently under construction in Somers, Wisconsin.

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