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Harvard Graduate School of Design creating visiting professorship in honor of John Portman

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) announced that it will name a distinguished visiting professorship in architecture in honor of John Portman, chairman and founder of AmericasMart. He is also chairman and founder of John Portman & Associates, an Atlanta-based design firm.

The John Portman Visiting Chair in Architecture will bring leading architects to the campus with a variety of perspectives and backgrounds to share with students.

A graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Portman has produced projects in more than 60 cities throughout the world in his nearly 50-year career. In his role as an entrepreneur and real estate developer, he has created 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, the CEO of John Portman & Associates.

"John Portman is one of the most innovative designers of his generation," said Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the GSD. "I am delighted that the GSD will honor his bold vision. His holistic and comprehensive approach to creating urban environments has allowed us to rethink how we activate and revitalize our cities. The Portman Chair will bring leading architects to our campus with a variety of perspectives and backgrounds to share with our students. It is my intention that the holders of the Portman Chair will, in turn, benefit and inspire generations of designers to think expansively about how they will contribute to the transformation of our societies, just as Mr. Portman has throughout his career."

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, according to a university press release. This position provides a chance for esteemed practitioners to engage in the life of Harvard for an extended period of time, ranging from one to three years. 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.

"Educating future generations of designers who will shape our world is one of the most important contributions I can make to my field," Portman said. "This professorship will provide opportunities for students to hear from and work with a dynamic cohort of leading practitioners who will inspire them to think in new ways about how to improve the world around them. Under Dean Mostafavi's leadership, the GSD provides a vibrant environment in which this type of exchange can take place, and I am delighted to be able to have my name associated with this exciting work."

 

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