John Portman & Associates’ president of 18 years, Grace Tan, unexpectedly passed away on Jan. 27 at the age of 58.
Tan started her architectural career in the Philippines, where she was born. She joined John Portman & Associates as a junior architect shortly after receiving a Master of Architecture degree from Ohio State University. She later received a Master of Design Studies from Harvard University. She was with the architectural firm for 34 years.
In 1993, Tan helped Jack Portman, the firm’s current chairman, to establish the Shanghai office. Tan’s work was essential in allowing the firm to create iconic Chinese destinations, including Shanghai Centre, Shanghai Arch, Beijing SilverTie Center and Tomorrow Square, among many others. Tan was awarded the Top Asian in Business accolade in 2012, among 50 leaders nationally.
“Grace was exacting; kind but firm, consistently working to ensure that we stay on point. She had a unique, indeed graceful, manner of persuasion,” says Portman. “She helped make us better, always. She was greatly respected and will be missed here and around the world.”
Photo: Courtesy of John Portman & Associates