Born in Germany in 1940, architect Helmut Jahn came to Chicago in 1966 to study under Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). He began at CF Murphy Associates a year later and worked on several significant commercial and governmental projects, including McCormick Place in Chicago and the J Edgar Hoover Building (FBI Headquarters) in Washington, DC. In 1981 CF Murphy Associates was renamed Murphy/Jahn.
Jahn’s Thompson Center completed in 1985 exhibits a Postmodern sense of playfulness with subtle references to the past and the future. Jahn’s work continues to demonstrate the influence of Mies – technical precision of materials, volumes enclosed by glass, expressed structure and lack of ornamentation – but lacks the rigid adherence to a singular form.
In 2012 Murphy/Jahn became JAHN and remains an incredibly prolific architectural practice. The firm’s work spans the globe and is focused primarily on corporate and high-profile educational projects.