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1412 I Street Northwest
Washington, DC, 20005
United States

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.

Paramount Theatre

 

Paramount Theatre

Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Immediately following a catastrophic flood, M+J was hired to restore this historic theatre. The project entailed the restoration of the historic theatre, expansion of performance capabilities, and an addition that provides front and back of house support.

 

Opportunity

M+J most recently completed effort came from working alongside Cedar Rapids-based OPN Architects in an effort to restore the historic Paramount Theatre, an excellent example of American movie palace architecture, extensively damaged by a catastrophic 2008 flood. The project entailed the restoration of the theatre, expansion of performance capabilities, and an addition that provides front and back of house support.

 

Creation

Restoration followed the Secretary of the Interior‘s Standards, that call for the identifying, retaining, and preserving of the form and character defining features and materials including the recovery of missing features through historic research, historic photographs, and 2D / 3D laser scanning recordation of all building interiors and exterior. In the theatre and patron areas, existing finishes and features have been retained, and deteriorated historic features were repaired. Where the severity of deterioration required replacement of materials and distinctive features, new features were designed and built to match the old in aesthetics, color, texture, and materials.

The auditorium was completely reseated and architectural acoustics addressed for the facility’s primary user, Symphony Iowa, as well as for touring musical and theatrical product. Historic surfaces were modified for reflectivity, variable acoustical devices were installed for better absorption, and a reflector and orchestra shell were installed to provide excellent acoustics. The organ, one of the truly special features of the theatre, was restored with a new lift configuration constructed in a new, variably sized pit.

The lower level was rebuilt with a new lobby, bar, and public bathrooms and the “annex” space, designed by OPN, expanded the historic public gathering spaces and now offers amenities that were designed to increase programming and operational opportunities.


Owner: City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Completion: 2012

Size: 80,000SF

Cost: $32M

AWARDS: 2013 Aia | IA  Excellence in Design Honor Award

2013 32th ANNUAL BUILDING DESIGN+CONSTRUCTION RECONSTRUCTION AWARDS  Silver Award  Cedar Rapids, Iowa

2014 American Public Works Association’s Public Works Projects of the Year  category of $25-$75M for Disaster/emergency construction repair

2014 AIA | Central States Region  Design Award

 
 
THE BUILDING LOOKS BEAUTIFUL, AND IT BRINGS A LOT OF LIFE TO THE DOWNTOWN.

THERE ARE A LOT OF HIDDEN GESTURES THAT THE PATRON DOESN’T SEE.

THESE MAKE THE THEATER MUCH MORE SUCCESSFUL SO IT PERFORMS BETTER, LIKE A STATE-OF-THE-ART AUDITORIUM.

- Brad Brown, Principal of OPN Architects
 
 
 

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