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Architect John Portman Dies at 93

Internationale Trauer um einen Gigant der Architektur


By B.John Zavrel, New York




Atlanta/New York (mea) US-Architect John C. Portman from Atlanta died on Friday, December 29. He was 93. In 1953 he was founding his firm , today known as John Portman and Associates. The renowned architect and developer is worldwide known for his post-modernist style and his monumental hotel buildings around the world. Uncounted condolences arrived in Atlanta from near and far.


"Kultur-Institute: Ein Gigant der Architektur"

Kultur-Institute würdigten den Verstorbenen als ein Vorbild für die Nutzung von Kunst im grenzüberschreitenden Dialog. „Die Europäische Kultur Stiftung" (Deutschland) erklärte : „ Zu den Verdiensten von John Portman gehört auch, dass er in seine unverkennbaren Architektur-Projekte Kunst und Kultur einbezog. Das „Museum Europäische Kunst" Schloss Nörvenich zitierte eine frühe Würdigung durch den Bildhauer Arno Breker: „Portman ist mit seinen Bauprojekten ein Gigant in der Architektur seiner Zeit. Man könnte ihn auch als eine neue Art von „Bildhauer" (sculptor) bezeichnen. Seine überragenden monumentalen Atrium -Hotels wirken wie futuristische Skulpturen." Portman hatte von Breker eine weibliche Bonze erworben, die er in seiner modernen Residenz gegenüber einer von Pablo Picasso gestalteten Figur aufstellte. Auf diese Weise brachte er seine Sympathie für Deutschland, Frankreich und Spanien zum Ausdruck.

Das US-Museum of European Art (Clarence/Buffalo, N.Y.) hob anerkennend hervor, dass die beruflichen und kulturellen transatlantischen Kontakte von John Portman dem ansehen der USA und der Kooperation der demokratischen Staaten diente. Sein jahrzehntelanger Erfolg hat auch dazu beigetragen, dass die USA ihren traditionellen Führungsanspruch auf dem Bausektor erhalten konnten. Damit hat sich auf diesem Gebiet die Vortschritt-Vision bestärkt: Amerika first."


Reaction in Medias and Internet

Positive reaction are to be read in the media. These are some quotes:

"No single architect shaped Atlanta's skyline like Portman, who gave the city the Hyatt Regency, Peachtree Center, AmericasMart and the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel," J. Scott Trubey wrote in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Saturday. "He also left his stamp from San Francisco to Shanghai, and helped revitalize Times Square with his famed New York Marriott Marquis."

Harvard Graduate School of Design's dean Mohsen Mostafavi, HYPERLINK "http://www.architectmagazine.com/manufacturer/door-access-systems-manufacturers-assn-intl" Intl. Assoc. AIA, published a book about Portman earlier this year 2017 in collaboration with photographer Iwan Baan.

"John C. Portman Jr., FAIA, is my hero, because Southern architects need Southern idols, and because he showed everyone how to invent a typology ("super atrium") while mastering the architect&endash;developer business model," Jennifer Bonner, director of Boston-based MALL, told ARCHITECT last year.


Condolences in Admiration

As a Homage to John Calvin Portman we can read the condolences which arrived in admiration for the late friend. Some memories and condolences from January 2918 follow:

If his buildings had not been built, American contemporary architecture would have had a fundamental gap. His filling the gap makes John Portman one of the most important, if not the most important, architects of recent years and one of the most significant voices in international late modern architecture.

John Portman succeeded in capturing something that touches people's hearts and he has managed to put this into his buildings.

Elizabeth and Paolo Riani, Tuscany, Italy


Blessings and prayers and our sincere condolences to the Portman family. Portman will forever be remembered in Atlanta and through out the world. Evelyn Wilson, Ypsilati, MI


Dear Jack and family,

Sincere condolences for your loss. Your father significantly shaped modern downtown Atlanta and together you had a major impact on Shanghai. These architectural achievements live beyond a life-time well spent, and may your pride in him help you with your grief. Dagmar Epsten, PlanAPlanet, Atlanta

A great treasure and for us all, his passing is only a temporary separation for those of us he shed his inspiration on . It is not a closing book, only a prelude to his creations on the streets of gold. David A. Hopkins, Tucker, GA

Jack & Mike, my family joins me in conveying my condolences to you and the extended Portman families. During my tenure of some 24 years with JP&A, Mr. P offered opportunities which exposed me to many nuances of architecture and the integration of architecture for people and their environs. Friendships and associates were cultivated. Never in my wildest imagination did I ever dream of working on major urban projects, Detroits RenCen & New York Marquis and others, that became catalysts for energizing major city centers. The experiences which I gained as the skyline of Atlanta took shape are unparalleled. He taught me a lot. My thanks and my condolences,Bob Jones, Atlanta, GA


Henry Ford once said the following about John Portman regarding the Renaissance Center Complex in Detroit: "Seldom if ever has an Architect had more influence or made a greater contribution to a modern American city" This was in 1972. Jay B., Stockbridge, GA


On behalf of Pat Thompson, the late William (Bill) L. Thompson, and everyone at Thompson Company, Inc., I would like to extend our sincere condolences to Jeff and the entire Portman Family. We are very sorry for your loss.


Bill often spoke of how proud he was to have been a part of the many iconic projects created by Mr. Portman and the Portman team. Mr. Portmans vision has made Atlanta what it is today and his brilliance in architecture has impacted the world.

God Bless! James Blackburn, Atlanta, Thompson Company, Inc.


(10. Janueary 2018) 



Copyright 2018 Prometheus

PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science, Nr. 242, January 2018