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Helmut Jahn: Life + Architecture is a new exhibit honoring the late Chicago architect and style icon. Get to know this extraordinary man who will continue to inspire generations to come. On view through Monday, March 14..

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, Jahn still managed to compete in dozens of world championship sailing competitions and grace the cover of popular magazines like GQ.

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 the crystalline Michigan City Public Library (1977) and Chicago’s dazzlingly provocative James R. Thompson Center (1985) to the transformational urban marketplace Sony Center in Berlin (2000) and the forward-looking Pritzker Military Archives Center, currently under construction in Somers, Wisconsin.

Photography, models and sketches illuminate each project and explore the collaborative design and engineering process, while personal imagery, video and recollections by those who knew and worked with Jahn underscore his flair for the dramatic and zest for life. 

Curation and Contributing Partners

Helmut Jahn: Life + Architecture is curated by Zurich Esposito and the Chicago Architecture Center exhibition team and designed by Jeannine Colaço and Studio J9.

Many thanks to our contributing partners: Bangert Projects, Best Imaging, Black Spectacles and AIA Chicago, Philip Castillo, Nathan Eddy, Iker Gil and MAS Context, Deborah Jahn, Evan Jahn, Maciej Kurka, Ingrid von Kruse, Joe Madon, Sara Proctor, Kathy Richland, Rolex, Tom Rossiter, Binky Spolarich, Michael Strogoff and Rainer Viertlböck.

This exhibit is made possible by generous support provided by:

Presenting Sponsor

Pritzker Archives & Memorial Park Center

Lead Sponsor

Francisco and Gergana Gonzalez-Pulido of FGP Atelier
David & Eileen Hovey
Joe & Rika Mansueto
James Goettsch & Nada Andric
Goettsch Partners
Time Equities, Inc.