John C. “Jack” Portman III, visionary architect, devoted father, doting grandfather, impassioned artist and trailblazing businessman, passed away of natural causes at the age of 71 on Friday, August 28 at his home in Atlanta, Georgia. While exceedingly successful as a real estate developer, Jack was passionate about being an architect, particularly the creation of meaningful architecture with a focus on culturally sensitive design.
He once said, “The challenge of the architect is to do something that seems to belong where it is situated.”
For Jack’s full obituary, it can be found here:
As the Chairman, Jack is responsible for all, but especially the international activities of the company. He’s always ensured that Portman’s priorities truly reflect the organization’s values: client service, world-class design and creating successful environments in which people succeed.
Beginning his career in 1973, after graduating from Harvard GSD, as an Apprentice Architect, his design experience later progressed him to corporate leadership and visionary international exploration. Working first with the domestic arm of our real estate development, he later established Portman Overseas to expand Portman’s design influence and pursue international real estate development and property management. Recognizing the huge potential in the Pacific Rim, he established the first Portman office in Hong Kong in 1979, living there until 1982. He was responsible for projects such as housing in Hong Kong, hotels and mixed-use developments in Singapore and mixed-use complexes in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Jack pioneered Portman’s entry into China – laying the groundwork for the Shanghai Centre (the first largest foreign investment project in the country). As a developer, designer and investor his commitment was demonstrated during the challenges presented by the changing political climate. Through numerous trips and a strong effort to build solid, long-term business relationships, he opened the Shanghai Centre in 1990 and lived in Shanghai in 1991 & 1992. This overwhelming success sparked increased activity for the firm in China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. In 1993 he directed the establishment of the Shanghai office and reactivated operations from Hong Kong. From Shanghai he directed the international work and laid the groundwork to open operations in India. In 1998 Jack returned to Atlanta to manage our renewed commitment to the local community and the U.S. Since then he’s overseen our expansion into India and Korea and ground-breaking project ventures in several key U.S. cities.