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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.

Panasonic Theatre

Photos by Gill Alkin Photography


Panasonic Theatre

Toronto, Ontario

The Panasonic Theatre is a complete rebuilding of an existing venue, the c1900 New Yorker Theatre in a three-story building, to a new state-of-the-art 900-seat hall. The existing space prior to the Martinez+Johnson design had minimal dimensions that were outdated and dilapidated, and was in need of updated renovation and customization for modern performances.



Clear Channel Entertainment proposed the New Yorker be modified to accommodate a new presentation of Blue Man Group. To accomplish these modifications, M+J to studied the existing structure and conceived a new design. In addition to the re-configuration of the Statehouse area, the addition of a new balcony in the house in order to double seating capacity to 900 seats was needed. M+J met with Blue Man Group to design support space and establish minimum requirements for the stage and back-of-house areas. The performance group provided a concise program statement for the show from which M+J began the redesign process.



In the new design, the state is set up primarily as a black box with a soft proscenium formed by a free-standing box truss at each side and overhead. Spiral stairs at either side of the stage form the visual edges of the proscenium, emphasizing the multi-story performance space within with the audience is seated. Back-lite translucent panel walls, overhead galleries and catwalks connecting rear seating to the stage, projecting seat boxes, an added balcony, and vaulted ceilings connected to the stage loft all increase the performance capabilities within the venue, integrating the space and the performance seamlessly.

Input from Blue Man Group enabled the design team to develop back-of-house areas, refine stage dimensions, and begin the customization of the venue. In order to accommodate the variety and size of the support spaces for the show, a partial basement was excavated below the stage, providing necessary dressing rooms and wardrobe areas accessible by a new lift in the rear yard loading area. Above the stage a modified loft accommodates for the show, with a structure for dead-hung rigging at a minimum of 30 feet. There is no actual gridiron, but the leading edge of the proscenium is fitted to accommodate lighting and audio equipment as necessary for performances.

Owner: clear channel entertainment, c/o David Anderson, President

Completion: 2005

Size: 35,000SF

Cost: $9M

Awards: The Toronto Construction Association - Best of the Best Award