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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.

Waziya Cinema





The Waziya Cinema, one of Yangon’s oldest and most celebrated theatres, stands among the few surviving venues on Cinema Row. Formerly names the “New Excelsior,” the cinema has been the site of innumerable cinematic and theatrical events. Martinez+Johnson Architecture, with leading knowledge and experience on historical rehabilitation and preservation with theatrical buildings, is currently working with the Yangon Heritage Trust to preserve the city’s most beloved artistic treasures.



Rapid development in Yangon is currently causing many of the city’s historical downtown buildings – a third of Yangon’s built heritage dates to the British Colonial Period – to be torn down, making way for new developments. A handful of historic preservation societies, including notably the Yangon Heritage Trust, are racing to preserve the buildings while educating local experts and the broader public about the importance of historic preservation. The Waziya Cinema on Cinema Row is one building the Trust is working to preserve, for it stands as a symbol on the city’s cultural heyday.



M+J is assisting with the completion of the Conservation Management Plan. This establishes the basis for future restoration work on the Cinema, and how it can be carried out with accuracy, integrity, and respect for the structure’s historic and cultural significance. This is the first plan developed in collaboration with the Yangon Heritage Trust, and will serve as a model for future preservation projects in the city. Progress on the Plan includes historic research of the aesthetic, architectural, and cultural heritage significance of the venue; surveying the building and surrounding land; and assessing the interior and exterior conditions, fabric, and structure of the Cinema in its current state. M+J provided conceptual designs for the theatre, outlining plans for reuse and refurbishment, the impacts of redevelopment of the Waziya Cinema, and how they are to be managed throughout the entire process.


Completion: EST 2017

Size: 34,000SF

Cost: est $10M