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1001 G Street Northwest 250W
Washington, DC, 20001
United States

(202) 333-4480

With a professional working relationship spanning three decades, Gary F Martinez FAIA and Thomas E Johnson FAIA founded Martinez+Johnson Architecture in 1994 to bring their design sensitivities to institutional and cultural projects in urban locations. The 25-architect firm has since established an expertise in three main architectural areas – the restoration and adaptive reuse of historic structures, institutional buildings in urban areas and community settings, and the design and planning of performing arts venues.

Known for a thoughtful design approach to public facilities, M+J develops an intimate understanding of the needs of users, patrons, and operators destined to inhabit the projects of the firm. M+J looks to the future in their design aesthetic even when the context may be firmly rooted in the past and executes creative solutions to facilities both new and historic, where flexibility, ease of operation, and high but versatile performance characteristics are requisite. Venues express aspirational values and goals of the communities within which they are located, and at the same time conform to issues of economic value at the highest levels of environmental sustainability.

Mahalia Jackson Theatre


Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts

New Orleans, Louisiana

Fueled by a local initiative to reinvigorate the cultural arts district, investors set out to renovate and repair existing theatre facilities. The Mahalia Jackson was the first in this initiative and it has since hosted a talented cadre of locally and internationally lauded musicians.



As a result of the efforts set forth by many ambitious locals, the reemergence of The New Orleans Cultural Arts District, located along the Rampart Street corridor between Canal Street and Armstrong Park has begun strengthening the existing performing art venues and added economic support in surrounding commercial development. Following Hurricane Katrina, the renovation and repair of this venue served as the jumping off point for this ambitions endeavor.



M+J was responsible for creating new and exciting experiences within the public spaces of the 1970’s theatre. Working with local architects and contracts M+J focused on creating a dramatic and new vision that would celebrate the rich history of performing arts in New Orleans. Beginning in the audience chamber, the configuration of the space and seating arrangements were altered   and enhanced acoustical systems were provided.  

These modifications have allowed for a symphony program to call the space home. Adjacent to the actual chamber space, the necessary restoration of historic materials and modernization of other important spaces was addressed. The lobby was refreshed with updated finishes and enhanced architectural lighting. The most striking example of such lighting is the oversized, crystal chandelier that survived the storm. It was outfitted with colorful LED lights and fills the space with the perfect amount of drama.

Opened in January 2009 the theatre represents the first in a series of projects for M+J in New Orleans, including the Saenger Theatre, which is focused on reinvigorating the New Orleans Cultural District.

Owner: City of new orleans c/o Cynthia m connick

Completion: 2009

Size: 65,000SF

Cost: $10M



- Bill Rouselle, Arts Center Enterprises