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Helmut Jahn (Nuremberg, 1940 -, 78 years) is a German architect based in the United States.
He was born on January 4, 1940 in Nuremberg (Germany) where he spent his childhood between World War II and its reconstruction. Endowed with a natural inclination for drawing and probably influenced by the constructions he saw at the time of his growth, he decided to study architecture at the Technical University of Munich where he received the degree in 1965. He then worked in an architecture office in that same city. He emigrated then to the United States where he studied for a year at the Illinois Institute of Technology, in Chicago. It was at that school that he came into contact with the structural engineer Fazlur Khan who would be an influence on how to work with the structure and design of the skyscrapers that have made him famous.
In 1967, Jahn joined the architectural firm C. F. Murphy Associates, under the guidance of Charles Murphy (architect), in which he became partner and design director six years later. In 1979 the studio changed its name to become Murphy / Jahn. During the 1980s, the firm designed some of the most prestigious buildings in Chicago, inspired by the style of Mies van der Rohe. Jahn was a visiting professor of architecture at the universities of Illinois, Harvard and Yale. Between 1989 and 1993 he was a tenured professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
In his most recent works, Jahn abandons his firm tendency towards modernism, and leans towards a creative naturalism, style that also allows greater freedom in design, so that the buildings of the same firm are more different from project in project. In its buildings Jahn reflects a symbolism that is easy to interpret, even by the general public.
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