Helmut Jahn Dead: Architect Killed in Bike Accident

helmut jahn cause of death

Getty A view of the 44-floor Cosmopolitan apartment tower in the heart of Warsaw, Poland./Architect Helmut Jahn attends a reception held by German President Joachim Gauck at Schloss Bellevue palace on July 3, 2015 in Berlin, Germany.

Helmut Jahn, the famed German-American architect known in part for his world-renowned work in Chicago died Saturday, May 8, 2021, from injuries he suffered in a bicycling accident in Campton Hills.

Jahn was 81. Campton Hills Police investigated the cause of Jahn’s crash, and confirmed his death to the Chicago Tribune and other news outlets. He was pronounced dead at the scene in Campton Hills, a village near St. Charles, a western Chicago suburb in Kane County.

Here’s what you need to know:

Jahn Was Cycling When He Was Hit By 2 Vehicles in Campton Hills & Police Said He Did Not Stop at an Intersection

Jahn was riding his bicycle in Campton Hills, near St. Charles at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 8, when he was hit by two vehicles, Campton Hills police said in a news release summarized by the Chicago Tribune and other news outlets. Multiple witnesses told police Jahn did not stop at a stop sign as he approached an intersection, for unknown reasons.

“That’s what multiple witnesses relayed,” Campton Hills Officer Scott Coryell told the Chicago Tribune. “For an unknown reason, he failed to stop.”

He was riding the bicycle northeast on Old Lafox Road, approaching its T-shaped intersection with Burlington Road when he was hit in the village, a western Chicago suburb in Kane County.

Campton Hills Police Chief Steven Millar told news outlets a silver Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV headed southeast on Burlington Road struck Jahn, and then a second vehicle, a silver Hyundai Sonata headed northwest on Burlington Road, struck him also.

“He was hit by the Trailblazer going south(east) and ended up in the north(west) lane where the Sonata hit him,” Coryell told the Chicago Tribune.

The driver of the Trailblazer and a female passenger in the SUV were not injured, officials said. The driver of the Sonata, who was an Elburn women, was taken to Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva for treatment of injuries that were not considered to be life threatening. The Trailblazer driver and his female passenger were not injured.

Jahn Was Best Known for the Thompson Center, Which He Planned When He Was 39

Jahn’s best-known work is the Thompson Center at 100 W. Randolph St., which houses the government offices for the state of Illinois. The full name of the building is the James R. Thompson Center. Jahn planned the building at age 39, and it was completed in 1985, according to the Chicago Architecture Center. He broke tradition with the unusual shape of the building, which is meant to symbolize the commitment of the state government to its people.

“The Helmut Jahn-designed center of state government is unabashedly Postmodern, with colorful details and a shape that references the dome of the state’s capitol. In addition to making a bold first impression, its design is intended to communicate a message. The openness and transparency of the building are meant to symbolize the state’s commitment to serving the people,” the Chicago Architecture Center writes.

The state government has proposed the sale and demolition of the building, and Jahn responded with a proposal to save it with a 110-story addition, according to Architecture Magazine.

“The best way to save the building, and to improve it, is to re-purpose it,” he said in a 2017 statement.

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