Restoration and Adaptive Reuse of Historic Structures
Over the past 20 years, Martinez+Johnson has executed more than eighty commissions involving theatres and cultural arts facilities, including reopening and updating some of the most significant structures in the country for a varied client base that includes universities, not-for-profits, municipalities, and the largest promoters and presenters of live entertainment in the world. Martinez+Johnson is presently in the process of re-establishing and re-positioning the Martin Luther King Memorial Library in Washington, DC as a state-of-the-art learning resource center while preserving this building designed by Mies von der Rohe in the mid-twentieth century.
Martinez+Johnson’s theatre restoration efforts range from larger venues such as the 3600-seat Kings Theatre in New York city and the 3300-seat Peabody Opera House in St Louis, MO to smaller stages such as the 1000-seat Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, VA, the 800 seat Howard Theatre in Washington DC, and the 1000-seat Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA.
Finding Community Relevancy from Institutional and Cultural Arts Facilities
Martinez+Johnson believes that Architecture can have a substantial influence on the environment around it. Whether a new structure or a remodeling/restoration, Martinez+Johnson integrate the structure to become a focal point for the neighborhood, the city, and the region in which it resides.
Opening some of the most significant buildings in the country running the gamut from universities, not-for-profits, local and regional governments, and globally prominent promoters and presenters of live entertainment, has re-energized entire neighborhoods, cities, and regions. For example, in New Orleans, Martinez+Johnson designed the restoration of the Mahalia Jackson Theatre and the Saenger Theatre after Hurricane Katrina devastated both facilities. In Brooklyn, NY Martinez+Johnson completed a $95M design of the historic restoration to the Kings Theater which is transforming Flatbush Avenue into a gentrified community. In Cedar Rapids, IA, the design of the Paramount Theater brought the community alive again after a catastrophic flood destroyed the city’s downtown area. And finally, the renovation of the Howard Theater – the oldest historically black music hall in America – brought the Shaw Neighborhood of our nation’s capital to life and created a venue to revitalize the region’s traditional jazz roots.
Planning and Design of World-class Performing Arts Venues
Known for a thoughtful design approach toward performing arts facilities, Martinez+Johnson endeavors to develop an understanding of the experience for the patron, the performer, and the operator. The firm looks to the future in their designs, even when the context may be firmly rooted in the past. Martinez+Johnson has had the challenge of designing both new facilities as well as ones for existing performance venues, where flexibility, ease of operation, and highly versatile performance characteristics must be maintained. Theatrical venues may need to accommodate opera, symphony, chamber music, and a single public speaker in successive performance slots.
In 2007 Martinez+Johnson was chosen for the National Excellence in Rehabilitation Award by the Society of College & University Planners recognizing Mississippi State University for the design of the Riley Center for Education and the Performing Arts in Meridian, MS - a project that included the rehabilitation and modernization of the 1000-seat Grand Opera House and a home for its performing arts curriculum.
What we value most is that it always starts with a hopeful dream about people. About a community.
With a professional working relationship spanning three decades, Gary F Martinez FAIA and Thomas E Johnson FAIA founded Martinez+Johnson Architecture in 1994 in Washington, DC to bring their design sensitivities to cultural arts and institutional projects