The Portman Archives’ mission is to collect, preserve, organize, describe, make available and interpret materials which document the life and architectural career of John C. Portman, Jr. and promote the study and understanding of his vision and legacy.
History of the archive:
There is a saying that has circulated within the administrative assistants of the Portman Companies to ‘never throw anything away’. The administrative team was very good at holding onto important elements of Mr. Portman’s legacy and elements of the activities of Portman Companies, but they held onto a great deal more in the ‘slide room’ and various storage locations.
Several initiatives were enacted to create intellectual control over the collected materials: an inventory of Mr. Portman’s personal artworks and collected artworks brought together in an artwork database, an inventory of all architectural drawings brought together in a drawing database to include a scanning project to digitize them, and an inventory of the ‘slide room’: a collection of renderings, audiovisual materials, publications, documents and photographs to include a scanning project to digitize them.
The efforts of the admin team, the accomplishments of the archival initiatives, and the continued support of Mr. Portman led to what has become known as The Portman Archives: a combined repository of photography, renderings, sketches, audiovisual materials, architectural drawings, correspondence, publications, marketing materials, artifacts, models and artworks that document Mr. Portman’s personal and professional accomplishments from the 1950’s forward.
The growth of the ‘slide room’ to ‘The Portman Archive’ was a conscious decision to preserve for others Mr. Portman’s pathway of ‘architect as developer’ and to contribute to the evolution of the Portman Companies by preserving their past and making it accessible for future endeavors. The work of the archive has added immense value to the efforts of the companies in supporting alignment with a heritage that demonstrates their success in various developments domestically and globally.