John Portman, the man who shaped Atlanta's skyline, dies at 93

- John Calvin Portman Jr., the architect who designed iconic Atlanta landmarks like the Hyatt Regency, AmericasMart, Atlanta Marriott Marquis and the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel, died on Friday. He was 93 years old.

Born in South Carolina but raised in Atlanta, Portman helped define the city that he called his home with his design of Peachtree Center, the downtown district filled with crisscrossing pedestrian sky bridges and skyscrapers with vast interior spaces.

Portman's work in the city led to him becoming a sought-after architect globally. He designed buildings in New York's Times Square, Singapore, Brussels, and all over the globe.

In a statement, Mayor Kasim Reed said that the city has lost a "great man."

"Mr. Portman believed in cities and their power to create beauty and connection," Reed said. "His love for his city is well known and unrivaled."

In his personal life, Portman was a painter and a sculptor. As one of the founding members of Atlanta's Action Forum, a group of black and white leaders formed to improve racial relations in the city during the civil rights era, he worked to give Atlanta the image of being "a city too busy to hate." Two restaurants that opened inside the Atlanta Merchandise Mart, later changed to AmericasMart, were the first integrated restaurants in the city.

Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young said that "there is no one who has done more for Atlanta." 

Portman is survived by Joan Newton "Jan" Portman, his wife of 73 years and his children, Michael  "Jody" Portman, John "Jack" Portman III, Jeffrey Linn Portman, Jana Lee Portman Simmons, and Jarel Penn Portman. He had 19 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and more.

A public service for Portman is planned for Friday, Jan. 5 at 12:30 pm in the atrium of AmericasMart Building 3 at the corner of the street that bears his name, John Portman Boulevard, and Ted Turner Drive.

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