GTM Architects Wins Two Merit Awards From Washington D.C. Chapter of American Institute of Architects

Firm Wins Award for Its Historic Preservation Efforts on the Avalon Theatre and Chinatown Area in Downtown Washington D.C.

BETHESDA, Md., Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- GTM Architects, a full service award-winning architectural and design firm, announced today that the company has been bestowed with two prestigious industry awards for its work in historic preservation from the Washington D.C. Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The awards include a Merit Award in the category of historic resources for work on Washington D.C.'s Chinatown area, and Avalon Theatre.

Founded in 1887, the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects serves the Nation's Capital, functioning as both the "local" and "state" component of the AIA for the District of Columbia. The Chapter was intimately involved in the design and planning of Washington, and continues to play an active role in city development today. The awards program is intended to recognize excellence in the categories of architecture, interior architecture, historic resources, urban design and sustainability.

"It is an honor to be selected among such a distinguished group of organizations for our commitment to deliver excellence in historic resources," said Melissa Cohen, Partner specializing in historic preservation for GTM Architects. "GTM is passionate about lending its services to better the community and ensure the proper preservation of the historic landmarks in the nation's capital."

Douglas Development, a client of GTM Architects, had the vision and foresight to set out to revitalize and restore the 7th Street area of downtown D.C. -- also known as Chinatown. Prior to hiring GTM, many of the buildings in Chinatown had been vacant for years. Douglas Development wanted to turn Chinatown into a vibrant dining and retail destination for the residents of Washington D.C. without changing or losing the obvious history of the area. In the absence of many residential buildings, GTM and its client took advantage of the row house structures for retail stores and restaurants as an alternate way to bring traffic into restored Chinatown.

The project is near completion and a change is already noticeable. Organizations such as Greenpeace now have offices in the area. Storefronts have been rebuilt based on historic documentation from the turn of the century (1860 - 1820) with interiors that are more functional to meet the needs and standards of modern consumers. Being so close to the MCI Center, the new restaurants, such as Legal Seafood and Ruby Tuesday, and retail shops are beginning to draw people back into Chinatown. This restoration is a great example of revitalization through preservation.

Located at 5612 Connecticut Avenue NW, the Avalon Theatre is the oldest surviving movie house in Washington. The goal of the theatre's historic preservation project has been to create a new Avalon Theatre serving the community's modern entertainment needs while maintaining the beauty and old-world glamour of the original structure. Thanks to GTM's restorative design work, the Avalon now offers the Washington D.C. community a revitalized theater that offers a variety of programming including: the best in big Hollywood films; independent, foreign, and documentary films; classics and family films; midnight movies and film festivals. The project has returned the Avalon to life as a vibrant and viable movie house that serves the needs and interests of the greater Washington community.

GTM provided architectural services for the restoration the theater's facade and lobby as well as to improve accessibility. Based on historic photographs and documentation, new windows, doors, and ticket booths were designed to resemble their predecessors. The entry doors and ticket booths were originally recessed, but were later relocated to align with the face of the building in order to make the lobby as large as possible and accommodate the new concession area. The metal canopy was restored complete with appropriate lighting and new signage reflects the original 1920's design. The terrazzo floor in the lobby was repaired and plaster pilasters and moldings were replaced. Period light fixtures were installed and doors, original to the building, were found and used at the interior lobby.

About GTM Architects

GTM Architects, Inc. is a full service, award-winning firm with experience in planning, architecture and interior design. Established in 1989, GTM has grown and diversified with a commitment to excellence in both service and design. Located in the historic district of Kensington, Maryland, GTM serves clients in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area and in 26 states nationwide.

With over 2,000 projects completed, GTM's team of experts has a depth of expertise in a wide array of industry sectors; including commercial, corporate, single and multi-family residential, healthcare, hospitality, retail, educational, and tennis facility architecture and design. The firm has the capability to meet a wide range of client goals by being responsive, efficient, future-forward and sensitive to budget concerns. Seamless communication, hands-on client involvement, creative problem solving and a collaborative approach allow GTM to build relationships, not just buildings.

GTM Architects has been recognized for its achievements as the recipient of prestigious awards, including several Potomac Valley AIA Awards, and the USTA Tennis Facility of the Year award in 2001 for the Junior Champions Center Project in College Park, MD. For more information please visit

CONTACT: Janeen Skelly of GTM Architects, +1-240-333-2000, ext. 2010, or
Email Contact; or Aimee Yoon of Dotted Line Communications,
+1-617-275-7082, or Email Contact, for GTM Architects, Inc.

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