John C. Portman Jr., the renowned architect, developer and artist who reshaped Downtown Atlanta, died Dec. 29, according to his firm, John Portman & Associates.

Portman, a longtime Sandy Springs resident, was 93.

Portman also was among the group of civic leaders who steered Atlanta’s “city too busy to hate” philosophy in the Civil Rights era, quietly pressing for racial integration while aiming to avoid protests or riots. His AmericasMart featured the city’s first two integrated restaurants, according to the memorial website.

The Hyatt Regency and Peachtree Center.

Portman first gained notice in the early 1960s for building what is now known as the AmericasMart trade complex in Atlanta, according to a memorial website, created by John Portman & Associates, at jcp-legacy.com. He then began the sprawling Peachtree Center complex, known for its blue-domed Hyatt Regency Hotel, and the Westin Peachtree Plaza  in Downtown.

He soon became globally famous, designing and construction similar complexes around the county and the world, including the iconic Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, Embarcadero Center in San Francisco and Tomorrow Square in Shanghai.

Read more about Portman’s legacy at Reporter Newspapers.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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