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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.

Sunken Gardens Amphitheatre


Sunken Gardens Amphitheatre

San Antonio, Texas

The Sunken Garden Amphitheater is a historic music presentation venue which has been enjoyed by San Antonio’s citizens since its construction in 1932. Despite several campaigns of renovation, today’s amphitheatre suffers from a lack of upkeep and improvement in its technological and patron facilities. Martinez+Johnson Architecture has been hired to provide a Schematic Design that seeks to remedy the shortfalls of this space.



The original amphitheater was constructed in the excavation of an abandoned quarry. Among the most significant features of the historic amphitheater is the classical colonnade which flanks either side of the stage and creates the implied proscenium opening for the performances. The owner intents for the site to be redeveloped as a festival ground with ancillary stage facilities and outlying concessions buildings. The historic pathways on the grounds will be rehabilitated and new entrance and loading areas constructed in the place of the current structures. Paved pathways will form the primary circulation route through the site and landscaped fields will be provided in the areas of the additional performance stages. Remote kiosk stations throughout the plaza area will be supported with basic power and drainage for festival performances.



The plan of the entire complex emanates from a central point at the center of the backstage wall. The gentle curves created by the plan parti serve to control vistas through the site and to focus both visual corridors and circulation pathways, guiding the patron through the theatre experience much in the fashion of the formal gardens of the park. Landscaping will enhance this plan with both formal plantings at the interior areas of the site and naturally situated, signature specimen trees along the perimeter.

The primary components of the new architectural scheme for SGA comprise an enhanced stage house enclosure suspended from an overhead space frame with an underhung performance grid, enhanced Front-of House and Back-of-House facilities,  replacement of the existing seating bowl with an enlarged seating area configured to accommodate 6,500 patrons, and a cantilevered pergola structure rising up from the rear of the seating area and extending towards the stage, a cable supported, retractable fabric sunscreen. The underside portion of the bowl structure will contain public restroom and concessions facilities along with storage and maintenance areas for the entire venue.

Owner: Arts Center Enterprises, c/o David Anderson, President

Study Completion: 2013

Size: TBD

Cost: TBD