Helmut Jahn

Helmut Jahn
Helmut Jahn
  • Born: January 4, 1940
  • Nationality: German
  • Profession: Architect









Helmut Jahn is a Chicago-based German-American architect, known for designs such as the Sony Center on the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Germany; the Messeturm in Frankfurt, Germany; the One Liberty Place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (formerly the tallest building in Philadelphia); and the Suvarnabhumi Airport, an international airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Recent projects include a residential tower in New York City, 50 West St in 2016 and the Thyssenkrup Test Tower in Rottweil, Germany in 2017.

Quotes About
Author Quote
Quote Topics Cited
A building is hard to judge. It takes many years to find out whether it works. It's not as simple as asking the people in the office whether they like it.
A city building, you experience when you walk; a suburban building, you experience when you drive. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
A good engineer thinks in reverse and asks himself about the stylistic consequences of the components and systems he proposes.
America has always imported history. History
Chinese buildings are like American buildings, with big footprints. People don't care about daylight or fresh air.
Creativity has more to do with the elimination of the inessential than with inventing something new.
Critics are entitled to have an opinion, but how can they judge how comfortable a building is? No critic is smart enough to judge how a building will perform over time. Time
Every building is a prototype. No two are alike. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
For me, drawing generates thinking and vice versa.
For me, though, the fun is over when I get the job.
German and English firms operate internationally, while French firms do not. The only place where they all have work is in China. Anybody can sell himself in China! Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Higher ceilings allow the use indirect lighting, which is much healthier and reduces glare.
I don't consider myself a star or a celebrity. I'm a simple guy who works a lot.
I find if my body feels well and I exercise regularly, I think better, work better and feel better. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I strive for an architecture from which nothing can be taken away.
I think the younger generation, the people poised to dominate the workforce, are more socially conscious. They are more demanding in terms of environment and how that environment contributes to their life. Life
I think there will be a 200-story skyscraper someday. However, it will require a developer who will not think in conventional terms and for whom economic restraints won't apply.
I used to buy nice clothes and drive a nice car when I couldn't afford it. But I spent all my money doing it, and now I don't have to. I like nice things. I like to travel in a certain style. I like to live in a nice place. Travel ;Money, Coins & Minting
I wanted to improve the suburban office building; to create a great urban space in a suburban environment with all that implies about interaction, collaboration and creativity.
IBM has a very solid business image. Business, Commerce & Finance
I'm ashamed to be German.
I'm just a nice and easy person.
In Europe, architects consider themselves artists. They think they're special when they win a competition.
In Europe, they're more demanding, the ones that rent the build ings.
It's my goal to make a building as immaterial as possible. Architecture is a very material thing. It takes a lot of resources, so why not eliminate what you don't need as long as you're able to achieve the same result?
I've never looked at a suburban building as being a minor building and an urban building as being a major building.
Most architects say: I want to use this type of glass, even if it's too reflective or doesn't let enough light in. However, the use of a certain type of glass might change the comfort level.
Sometimes I have to accept a job I don't really want. Hardly anybody comes up to you with a commission; it's all competitions these days.
Success on one project does not necessarily mean success in the next project. You've got to be prepared in everything you do. Success
The American attitude towards efficiency and execution should always underlie architecture.
The architecture profession has lost a lot of its integrity, especially in the USA. The general architect here has no scruples, no ambitions.
Transparency is not the same as looking straight through a building: it's not just a physical idea, it's also an intellectual one.
We are creating a unique experience. It's starts with how you see the building from a distance.
We prefer synthetic rather than natural materials. Natural products are almost too valuable. Wood is much harder to produce than metal. And metal is recyclable, while wood isn't.
We want our buildings to work like a machine that will create a pleasurable environment. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
When I came to America in the '60s, it was the place to be. I wonder if I'd come here today.
When I think of some of my earlier work, it really seems a fortunate coincidence that I succeeded. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
When I work, I work very hard. When I don't work, I have to do something where my endeavor can totally take me off what I do professionally, like sailing. It takes all your attention. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Working is actually a pleasure. It's just very time-consuming. It's a way of life. I find that I can work when I travel and work when I run. There is nothing like, on a rainy day, to work. Life ;Travel ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
You don't know what the Chinese expect in the way of beauty. The presentation is just a farce. You come into a room filled with 50 people and they don't talk to you. There's very little interaction.
You'd never think of taking a cab if you had to walk a mile down Chicago's Michigan Avenue. But in a bad city you take a cab just to go around the corner.