John Portman – The Architect

John Portman Marriott Marquis elevator
Spectacular- I love the elevator, looks like it is going to future. Photo by Tijana.

John Portman was a prolific architect who left a deep mark on the Atlanta landscape and many word capitals. Portman was praised for his cinematic interiors that artfully related interior space and elements to the individual. Since I am located in Atlanta, I was very curious to see this particular Portman’s building because it transports you to a different time and space. It’s marvelous when you can time travel through architecture.

John Portman – Marriott Marquis Indoors

Tijana at Portman’s building
Tijana. When I am in space like this, I feel so happy.

Floor level - John Portman Marriot Hotel Atlanta
Floors, eye level.

The inside of Atlanta’s Marriott Marquis is incredibly exciting. Depending on where you stand in a central atrium provides a very different experience. For instance, at eye level, it looks interesting and modern. The views up from the lobby floor or from the top floor looking down however are what makes this hotel so spectacular.

Futuristic look. John Portman architecture
Futuristic looking building. Tijana.

John Portman Hotel Atrium.
Incredible visual. Looking down from one of the top floors. Photo by Tijana.

Sometimes eyes cannot comprehend what they see especially from the still image. The power of architecture is how it makes us feel. This fantastic hotel feels surreal. It evokes a sense of wonder. Imagine what it took to make this complex structure?

Passion for Architecture

My passion for architecture came suddenly in my lifelong appreciation of the arts. Taking these hypnotic pictures brought me so much joy. It is simply astounding what the human mind can conceive.

Marriott Marquis Indoors looking up.
John Portman Hotel Atrium. Photo by Tijana.

It’s fascinating that when you look up, a whole new world opens to you. All at once there is a hunger to explore the different views and possibilities of the space. The complexity and futuristic beauty of this hotel’s interior are magnificent. I always ponder about the creative process and how it feels to see it once it is built. Then the building takes a life of its own and belongs to the people.

About Marriott Marquis

The Atlanta Marriott Marquis is a 53-story, 168.86 m (554.0 ft) hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. It is the 14th tallest skyscraper in the city. The building was completed in 1985, and yet it still looks so futuristic!

The Marriott Marquis’s most prominent and iconic feature is its picturesque large atrium. It was the largest in the world upon its completion in 1985, at 470 feet (143 m) high. The atrium spans the entire height of the building and consists of two vertical chambers divided by elevator shafts and bridges. Later on, Burj Al Arab broke this record in Dubai.

Notable Filming Locations

In the Hunger Games films (Catching Fire and Mockingjay – Part 1), a few scenes of the Capitol’s tribute center were filmed here. The 2012 movie Flight shot some scenes in the hotel during filming as well. Back in 1986, the movie Manhunter briefly shows some scenes from the atrium. You can find more of his film locations here.

About John Portman

John Portman was an American neo-futuristic architect. He popularized hotels and office buildings with multi-storied interior atria. His impact is greatest on his hometown of Atlanta which has many of his landmark projects. 

His love of art is evident in all that he did. He supported the arts, he collected art. And, he was also a painter and sculptor. Portman was committed to incorporating art into all his projects.

I had a wonderful opportunity to see at the High Museum of Art his exhibition – John Portman: Art & Architecture. The exhibition included approximately fifty-five works. Most of them have never been exhibited in public.

Enjoy learning more about Portman’s architecture on his website.


All the images belong to Tijana and Zest & Curiosity. Tijana art directed all images. If you enjoyed them, I will gladly share – for the conditions and right to use please reach me via Contact Form

Where it Is?


  • svetislav

    When I look at this Portman building, I have the impression that I am walking through a musical organ…….J.S.Bach ….in my ear .

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Amazing that you experienced it like that. if you don’t know what is it on some images, lot of people thought it was a musical instrument. I made a video for outtakes, I am fine-tuning it, And, in my mind was Callas. somehow it evokes epic classical music. thank you for a great comment – always appreciated.

  • Ken McDonald

    Your vertical shots of this wonderful structure remind me of the interior of the derelict in the movie ‘Alien’.

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Great comparison. It looks like something from the feature and so alien. Thank you for checking the blog post.

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    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Thank you so much – I am glad that you enjoyed. Join us for exploring more. And have a beautiful day!

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    Wow, incredible blog layout! The overall look of your site is great, let alone the content!

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Thank you so much, it is a passion project.

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    This design is steller! You most certainly know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Thank you for your wonderful comment. And, go for creating your blog! It is so rewarding in building the community and sharing experiences. have a beautiful day!

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