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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.

United Colors of Benetton

 

United colors of benetton

Washington, dc


Located in the heart of Washington, DC’s historic Georgetown neighborhood, this c1850 building was once home to the Potomac Savings Bank. Over the years the structure housed various banking institutions, but in the summer of 1990, the Bank of Washington collapsed, shaking the confidence of many in the area.

 

Opportunity

Benetton Group, an Italian-based global fashion brand, began opening stores across the United States in the late 1990s. The Georgetown Benetton in 1200 Wisconsin Avenue’s historic building was one of the first to be opened in America, signaling a change to the community and bringing international fashion to the nation’s capital.

 

Creation

he adaptive re-use of this historic banking structure for the administrative offices and main retail center of Benetton USA posed several distinct challenges. Apart from providing the building with new HVAC and fire/life safety systems, the retail store located on the first floor and basement levels necessitated the incorporation of two 20-ton bank vaults into the design scheme.

At the basement level the vault was left intact with its main door welded into an open position, thus allowing the use of the space as a display area. The first floor vault was demolished save for the front wall and door, which were structurally reinforced to rain in place as a freestanding façade. This was used as a visual divider through which patrons could enter the children’s clothing department. A new recessed main entrance was created along Wisconsin Avenue with custom bronze security gates, referencing the history of the building while creating a modern and stylized entryway. Windows were enlarged for retail storefront displays, new structural steel for each floor and the roof were installed, a grand glass staircase designed, and the brick façade and existing wooden windows restored. Additionally, Martinez+Johnson oversaw the assembly and final position of a new showroom using custom display fixtures and lighting elements detailed for production by craftsmen in Italy.

Martinez+Johnson subsequently worked with Benetton in designing stores in South Street Seaport, New York; Palm Beach, Florida; Boston, Massachusetts; Tysons Corner, Virginia, and others up and down the East Coast.


Owner: benetton group

Completion: 2002

Size: 18,000SF

AWARDS: 2002 Associated Builders and Contractors / Metropolitan Washington and Virginia Chapeter’s Certificate of Merit – Excellence in Construction Historic Restoration

 
 
 
 
 

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