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Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ International Spy Museum in Washington opens

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The $162 million building is the first cultural project completed by the practice in the US

The new 11,400m² museum, dedicated to ’the tradecraft, history and contemporary role of espionage’, will be home to the largest collection of spy artefacts in the world. 

Its site at L’Enfant Plaza in Washington DC is between the National Mall and the Wharf, and the museum is intended to act as a catalyst for regeneration in the surrounding area.

10700 n20468

10700 n20468

The seven-storey building has three floors of exhibition space, totalling 3,250m², with each floor up to 6m high. They are expressed on the exterior in a suspended metal-panelled black box, with angled façades to the south and west.

Below these at ground level is a double-height entrance lobby, with adjacent retail facilities and above a mezzanine education space.

A metal staircase connecting floors is encased in a suspended glass atrium, named the ‘Veil’, on the west façade.

Office spaces sit above the exhibition floors and above these is a 700m² events space which is encased in a ’white box’ and topped by a roof-level terrace and bar. 

Rshp d w veilstairlanding

Rshp d w veilstairlanding

Stair landing detail of the ‘Veil’

Project data

Start on site September 2016
Completion January 2019 (building envelope)
Gross internal floor area 9,750m²
Gross (internal + external) floor area 11,400m²
Form of contract or procurement route Management contracting
Construction cost $162 million
Architect / lead designer Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Architect of record Hickok Cole
Client The Malrite Company
Developer JGB Smith
Structural engineer of record SK+A Engineers
MEP engineer of record Vanderweil
QS Clark Construction (pre-construction)
Landscape consultant Michael Vergason Landscape Architects
Lighting consultant Available Light
Acoustic consultant Jaffe Holden
Specialist façade consultant Eckersley O’Callaghan
Project manager JBG Smith
Main contractor Clark Construction 
CAD software used MicroStation (RSHP) + Revit (Hickok Cole)

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Diagonal tension braces seem to have found their true purpose in life; very bright, jazzy (and Rogersesque) to be hosting the dark arts of espionage.
    And I wonder if the Malrite Company will in due course be adding an exhibit on the sinister story that started to emerge yesterday of the NSO enabled invasion of WhatsApp?

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