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The Week in Germany - May 21, 2021
May 21, 2021
Remembering the works of architect Helmut Jahn

Dear TWIG Readers,

In today's edition, we'd like to take a moment and remember the life and works of German architect Helmut Jahn, who tragically died in a bicycle accident in Chicago earlier this month. The German-American architect, who was born in the city of Zirndorf in 1940, is known for his impressive buildings on both sides of the Atlantic.

After graduating from the Technische Hochschule in Munich, Jahn moved to Chicago in 1966 to study at the Illinois Institute of Technology. And throughout his life, he has designed countless buildings that millions of people visit every year.

One of his most well-known set of buildings is the Sony Center, located on the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. This complex is a familiar sight for many of those who live in Berlin: it houses Sony's German headquarters, but it also contains a number of shops, restaurants, a conference center, hotel rooms, residences, offices, entertainment and more. 

Another one of Jahn's most renowned buildings is the Messeturm (Trade Fair Tower), a postmodern architectural style building located in Frankfurt. This 63-storey skyscraper is the second-tallest building in both Germany and the European Union. Frankfurters often refer to it as the "Bleistift" ("pencil"), due to its pyramid-shaped tip.

While Jahn's buildings in Germany are memorable, he also left behind a number of architectural marvels in the United States, including One Liberty Place, a skyscraper complex in Philadelphia. He also designed the postmodern James R Thompson Center in Chicago.

"Jahn was one of the most inventive Chicago architects whose impact on the city - from the skyline to the O'Hare tunnel - will never be forgotten," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted. "His architectural footprint will be felt and seen across the globe for generations to come."

Nicole Glass

Editor, The Week in Germany
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