Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) announced this week that it will name a distinguished visiting professorship in architecture in honor of John Portman, founder and chairman of John Portman & Associates, a leading design firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. The John Portman Visiting Chair in Architecture will create a special opportunity for the GSD to bring internationally recognized designers to campus in a sustained role. This position provides an important chance for esteemed practitioners to engage in the life of Harvard for an extended period of time, ranging from one to three years. The Portman Chair creates a worthwhile complement to traditional faculty structures, offering a flexible appointment for a leading practitioner and programmatic support to ensure the chair holder’s maximum impact while in residence. In addition to providing for the role itself, the Portman Chair will include research assistance, the curation and organization of exhibitions, and production of related publications.
Portman is an American architect who has designed iconic buildings and cityscapes that have redefined and revitalized the urban environment. Portman’s career has spanned nearly 50 years and produced projects in more than 60 cities throughout the world. He has expanded his role into that of entrepreneur and real estate developer, creating projects such as Peachtree Center in Atlanta, Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, and Shanghai Center in Shanghai. Many members of his immediate family have attended various schools at Harvard, including his son Jack Portman, GSD M.Arch. ’73, the CEO of John Portman & Associates.