Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners completes high-tech Spy Museum in Washington DC

The British practice has completed the first museum in America focusing entirely on the history and techniques of espionage.

The protruding facades, supported by a sculptural metal structure, make the International Spy Museum distinctive in the urban landscape of Washington, D.C., providing space for contemplation of its monuments, such as the Washington Monument, the National Cathedral and the Capitol.

The first cultural building built by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners in the United States presents, as usual, a great deal of attention to the design of structural and technical details.

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, International Spy Museum, Washington D.C., 2019

Its articulated shape and high-tech aesthetics contrast sharply with the appearance of the commercial buildings overlooking L'Enfent Plaza, characterised by their rigorous composition and marked by the regularity of the reinforced concrete structural frame.

A visible and characteristic element of the building is the staircase hanging from the inclined pillars. It is wrapped in a multifaceted "veil" of glass and, as is often the case in Rogers' "inside-out" architecture, it is not a serving space but a plastic object and a privileged place for observing the city.

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, International Spy Museum, Washington D.C., 2019

The museum is the first in the United States entirely dedicated to the history and role of espionage in the contemporary world. It houses the largest collection of intelligence artifacts ever exhibited to the public.

The structure reaches the maximum height allowed by the Washington D.C. building regulations, which is 40 metres, and is distributed over seven levels housing galleries for temporary and permanent exhibitions, a theatre, offices, event spaces, and a terrace.

International Spy Museum
Washington D.C.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Structural engineering:
SK+A Engineers
Eckersley O’Callaghan
Michael Vergason Landscape Architects
Available Light
13,000 sqm

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