Architect and Developer John C. Portman, Jr. Dies at 93

John C. Portman, Jr. Image courtesy Tom Hamilton/The Portman Archives.

Known for his hotels and commercial centers with exuberant interior atriums as focal points, Atlanta-based architect and developer John C. Portman, Jr., FAIA, died on Friday December 29, 2017, from undisclosed causes. He was 93.

Portman’s contributions to the architectural world span more than half a century, with a portfolio of urban, mixed-use projects outfitted with signature atriums. He designed notable public spaces such as the Peachtree Center in Atlanta, the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, and the Renaissance Center in Detroit.

The Peachtree Center in Atlanta. Image courtesy Kinka Wong/The Portman Archives.

In addition to the Peachtree Center, Portman conceived several structures in an effort to revitalized downtown Atlanta, beginning with the transformation of the Atlanta Merchandise Mart in 1957 and the newly constructed Hyatt Regency Atlanta in 1965. The Westin Peachtree Plaza, completed in 1975, was the tallest hotel in North America at the time. The Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles and the Marriott Marquis in New York are also two of his more notable U.S. hotels. International projects by Portman included the Shanghai Centre, Brussels Trade Mart, as well as his first international hotel, the Marina Square in Singapore.

The Marriott Marquis Atlanta. Image courtesy Michael Portman/The Portman Archives.

His work was honored with numerous awards from AIA and other organizations. Portman was a founding member of Atlanta’s Action Forum, which was launched by local business leaders dedicated to the success of the city and its citizens.

For his dedication to the city’s prosperity throughout his career, Portman was acknowledged by former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, who said “there is no one who has done more for Atlanta.”