Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago (2011), with an elliptical, 40-foot-high dome that covers a 180-seat reading room and an underground automated storage and retrieval system.

Writing in The Chicago Tribune, the critic Blair Kamin called the library a “convention-busting marvel” that “students seem to love because it lets natural air pour inside, liberating them from the university’s dimly lit reading rooms.”

Mr. Jahn was working on designs until the end of his life.

“He was so possessed with getting his work done,” Mrs. Jahn said by phone. “He was just a one-man show. He had so many ideas in his head.”

In addition to his wife, whom he met when she was the interior designer for McCormick Place, Mr. Jahn is survived by his son, Evan, a partner in the firm; two granddaughters; and a brother, Otmar.

Earlier this month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration accelerated the process, sending developers a request for proposals to sell the building, whose upkeep has been deemed too costly.

Last year, Mr. Jahn offered a proposal to save the building by adapting it to create new offices, a hotel and apartments, and building an office tower on the southwest corner of West Randolph and North LaSalle Streets. He also proposed removing the building’s front doors and turning the enormous atrium into a covered outdoor space.

“A demolition and replacement would not only take a long time but seeks high density without considering public benefits,” he wrote in his proposal. We need not more bigger buildings, but buildings which improve the public space.”

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