International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

International Spy Museum, Washington D.C designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners is a floating structure which creates public and private spaces for a combination of different uses
Photographs: Nic Lehoux

The building, International Spy Museum, Washington D.C. designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners reaches the city’s height limit of 130-ft from grade in just seven stories. Its most prominent features are the angled façades of the exhibit floors on the south and west sides of the site, encased in a black box. Propped up on columns over an aligned, existing structure, the black box comprises the bulk of building including its exhibition spaces. This is a floating structure which creates public and private spaces for a combination of different uses.

The lobby and retail facilities are located within the double-height ground level space, with a mezzanine that holds an educational space for student and teacher workshops. Above the ground-level lobby are the museum’s three main exhibition areas featuring floor heights of up to 20-ft. These include the ‘Special Exhibitions’ floor, the theatre, permanent exhibition and task-finding, as well as the future ‘Operation Spy’ space.

A metal staircase connecting these floors is suspended along the outside of the metal-panelled west façade and enclosed in a suspended glass atrium called the ‘Veil.’ Office spaces can be found above the exhibition floors and floating above these is the events space which is encased in a white box and crowned with a large, rooftop terrace. The steel structure found within the events box gives the museum 60-ft spans with floor-to-ceiling windows arranged in a 180-degree span around the building. These provide a platform for observing the Washington Monument and the Capitol, the National Cathedral and the Basilica, the District Wharf and National Harbour.

  • International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners <br> Photographs: Nic Lehoux
    International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
    Photographs: Nic Lehoux
  • International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners <br> Photographs: Nic Lehoux
    International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
    Photographs: Nic Lehoux
  • International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners <br> Photographs: Nic Lehoux
    International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
    Photographs: Nic Lehoux
  • International Spy Museum, Washington D.C designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners is a floating structure which creates public and private spaces for a combination of different uses <br> Photographs: Nic Lehoux
    International Spy Museum, Washington D.C designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners is a floating structure which creates public and private spaces for a combination of different uses
    Photographs: Nic Lehoux
  • International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners <br> Photographs: Nic Lehoux
    International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
    Photographs: Nic Lehoux
  • International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners <br> Photographs: Nic Lehoux
    International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
    Photographs: Nic Lehoux
  • International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners <br> Photographs: Nic Lehoux
    International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
    Photographs: Nic Lehoux
  • International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners <br> Photographs: Nic Lehoux
    International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
    Photographs: Nic Lehoux
  • International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners <br> Photographs: Nic Lehoux
    International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
    Photographs: Nic Lehoux
  • International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners <br> Photographs: Nic Lehoux
    International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
    Photographs: Nic Lehoux
  • International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners <br> Photographs: Nic Lehoux
    International Spy Museum, Washington D.C; Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
    Photographs: Nic Lehoux

With its large and slender, structural-steel beams extending upward from the site on L’Enfant Plaza in a predominantly concrete area of Washington, D.C., this type of architecturally expressed structural steel is unlike any other in the district. The glass veil on the west façadeprotrudes from the building like a shining jewel, enticing people up toward it from 10th Street.

fact file

  • project: International Spy Museum
  • location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia, United States
  • architects: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
  • architect/lead designer: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
  • area: 1,40,000-sq.ft
  • manufacturers: Terrazzo & Marble
  • architect of record: Hickok Cole
  • client: The Malrite Company
  • developer: JGB Smith
  • structural engineer of record: SK+A Engineers
  • MEP engineer of record: Vanderweil
  • landscape consultant: Michael Vergason Landscape Architects
  • specialist façade consultant: Eckersley O’Callaghan
  • lighting consultant: Available Light
  • dt of completion: 2019
  • photographs: Nic Lehoux

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