John Portman, one of world’s finest architect and developer whose designs brought sparkle to various cities across the world, died Friday in Atlanta. He was 93 years old.

Born as John Calvin Portman Jr. on Dec. 4, 1924 in Walhalla, South Carolina, he was a neofuturistic architect who gained fame for his designs of high-rise buildings with futuristic atriums. Portman graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1950 and since then, there was no looking back for the pioneering entrepreneur.

In a career spanning more than six decades, Portman carved a niche for himself and changed the skylines of cities across the world. His designs of high-rise buildings with futuristic atriums and beautiful glass elevators soon became the cynosure of all eyes. His commercial towers invigorated the business districts of decaying post-war American cities.

From the Peachtree Center in Atlanta, the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, and the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Portman built numerous hotels, offices, and retail complexes in various cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Fort Worth and San Diego to name a few. He also designed skyscrapers for Asian cities like Shanghai in China and Mumbai in India.

Portman had a large impact on the skylines of his hometown, Atlanta. The skylines transformed the city. His architecture drew attention of onlookers, with many describing the buildings as concrete islands.

The 22-storey Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, built in 1967, remains a benchmark for Portman. The hotel was built with Chicago’s Pritzker family, the owners of the Hyatt chain. Another structure that was inaugurated with great fanfare was the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York City.

According to a report in Chicago Tribune, Cindy Pritzker, wife of the late Hyatt chief Jay Pritzker, wrote in an email, “People poured in to see the hotel.”

In an interview to the New York Times in 2011, Portman had said, “Anyone can build a building and put rooms in it. But we should put human beings at the head of our thought processes. You want to hopefully spark their enthusiasm. Like riding in a glass elevator: Everyone talks on a glass elevator. You get on a closed-in elevator, everyone looks down at their shoes. A glass elevator lets people’s spirits expand. Architecture should be a symphony.”

Talking about his work, he said, “A fish got to swim and a bird got to fly. I’m here six days a week, and it’d be seven if I didn’t make a commitment to my wife to take a day off.”

According to New York Times, Portman rarely attended public events. He would instead paint abstracts, create sculptures, and design furniture at his beach house in Sea Island, Georgia. A documentary portraying Portman’s life was made by Ben Loeterman in 2011. Loeterman named the documentary “John Portman: A Life of Building.”

Recalling this, Andrew Young, former Atlanta Mayor said, “Everyone became a country bumpkin when they walked into the Hyatt. You had to say: ‘Oh, my God, what is this?’”

Portman co-authored the book “The Architect as Developer” with Jonathan Barnett. It was published in 1976.