Robert D. McFadden report on the passing of an architect that delivered icons to skylines all over the country and the world:
John Portman, the architect and developer who revolutionized hotel designs with soaring futuristic atriums, built commercial towers that revitalized the downtowns of decaying postwar American cities and transformed Asian skylines from Shanghai to Mumbai, died on Friday in Atlanta. He was 93.
As examples of the influential and instantly recognizable projects from Portman's oeuvre, McFadden lists the "Peachtree Center in Atlanta, the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, the Renaissance Center in Detroit and scores of hotel, office and retail complexes in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Fort Worth, San Diego and other cities."
Even students of the humanities now Portman's work intimately, thanks to an essay by cultural theorist Frederic Jameson on the postmodern nature of the Bonaventure hotel in Los Angeles.
Obituaries for Portman have poured in from architecture critics working in cities where Portman left indelible impressions on the skyline. Los Angeles Times Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne writes of Portman's mark on the culture and history of architecture and development. John Gallagher writes for the Detroit Free Press about Portman's singular impact on Detroit's skyline, where the Renaissance Center is one of the buildings most synonymous with its city in the entire country.