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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.

State Theatre, Falls Church


State Theatre

Falls Church, Virginia

Constructed in 1935, the State Theatre is an excellent example of the Art Deco style of architecture popular in the 1920s and 30s for public/social buildings. Operating as a movie theatre, the venue was a staple to the Falls Church, Virginia community until it closed its doors in 1988. As the only cinema in the city, the theatre was significant for both its social history in the community and its listing as a local landmark.



Ten years after the cinema shut down, Martinez+Johnson was commissioned by Timeless Entertainment to renovate and convert its primary use from a film house to a fully-functioning venue for live entertainment.



The project’s scope of work included over-building the raked floor as terraces for table seating while the balcony retained theatre seating with restored seats. New mechanical, electrical, and fire/life safety systems were stablished. Updated stage lighting, audio and visual projection systems, and soundboard control areas were added to enable a wide variety of live performances.

The front of the theatre was rebuilt to accommodate an entrance restored to the original 1930s center from a 1950s renovation which moved the access to the side. A new theatre marquee and new ticket booth, replicas of the originals, were installed. A significant addition was constructed to the side of the building housing a kitchen, increased restroom facilities, and theatre offices. At the read, a second addition was erected over the stagehouse for musicans’ rooms and a direct stage connection.

Owner: Timeless Entertainment c/o Steve Thompson

Completion: 1999

Cost: $2M


- David Malitz, The Washington Post