About the Author: Bob Soppelsa is a curator with ART in EMBASSIES.
John Portman opened his architectural firm in Atlanta in 1953. Pioneering the role of architect as developer, he went on to shape the skyline of Atlanta, transforming a once-quiet downtown into a bustling international urban center. His best-known project -- one of his first -- is the Peachtree Center.
Portman's unique approach to urban planning led to civic commissions across the country. From the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, California to Times Square in New York, he created multi use projects intended to decongest urban centers and create open, interactive spaces.
Portman was also one of the first American architects to become active in China. His Shanghai Centre (1990) was described by China Daily as "one of the five architectural stars in mainland China." Today, much of Portman's work continues to be in Asia, with important projects ongoing throughout East Asia, including three in Singapore.
John Portman also paints and sculpts, and has loaned two of his pieces to the current ART in EMBASSIES exhibition in Singapore, where the ambassador is a fellow resident of Atlanta.