John Portman’s designs reshaped his hometown of Atlanta, and changed the world

January 9,2018

Source: Michael Kahn, ArtsATL

On Friday afternoon, nearly 1,000 Atlantans — among them a “who’s who” of politicians, CEOs and cultural leaders — came together in the atrium of the AmericasMart in downtown to remember the life of John Portman, Jr., FAIA.

Portman, the man who shaped downtown Atlanta, passed away December 29 at age 93, leaving a towering legacy behind. The soaring atrium could not have been a more fitting venue for the occasion; the light-filled volume was a favorite design feature in Portman’s buildings, including the neighboring Marriott Marquis and SunTrust Plaza Garden building — where the architecture firm he founded 65 years ago is based today.

Portman, who designed and developed the Peachtree Center complex — including the Hyatt Regency, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Marriott Marquis, AmericasMart and SunTrust Plaza — was not only an architect but a developer and artist as well. Through more than six decades of work, he redefined downtown, bringing new industry and density to an area few others invested in during the 1960s and 1970s.

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