Unfortunately, you can no longer read this letter yourself, but I am sure it reaches you up in heaven. Heaven, which your houses brought us a whole lot closer to, and which arches protectively over the earth.
I just wanted to thank you again personally for our cooperation, a cooperation that began when you were already a world star - my mother had already read to me about the ‘Turmvater’ Jahn - and we from Transsolar were just seven nobodies. But you never let us feel that. No, at our first meeting in Berlin, with the roar of the Berlin Zoo in the background, you listened closely. You listened to how we wanted to physically complete your design for the new airport in Bangkok, you asked questions and took us seriously. You trusted us to defend your design in Bangkok, even though things didn't always go smoothly during the first presentation there. I still remember that you lent me one of your black ties - I didn't have one. And 12 years later, this airport won the Holcim Award for its sustainability built in architecture.
This airport was the beginning of a 15-year collaboration with handwritten faxes, crowned certainly with the Deutsche Post headquarters, the Posttower in Bonn, which set standards for sustainable high-rise buildings in 2002, the year it was completed. With your support, we were able to push through a consistent concept with the board of directors, for which there was no reference, but the trust of a world star.
With our joint international projects, you gave us a basis on which much of our current reputation is built.
We learned from each other, I from you, for example, that conflicts with clients should be resolved in dialogue and not in court. And you from me, that in your lectures you then also spoke of daylight, of comfort and energy in your houses, which surprised some, not me; your United Terminal in O'Hare also shows this quality.
I'm sure you continue to sketch up there, with fountain pen or black felt pen on small rectangular sheets of paper. You thought and designed in pictures, now just with the view from above.
Thank you, Helmut!