Washington, DC

Malrite Company / The JBG Companies

Service Type

Project Type

120,000 SF

May 2019

2020 NCSEA Excellence in Structural Engineering Award; 2019 NAIOP DC|MD Best Institutional Facility; 2019 ENR Best Cultural/ Worship Project; 2019 ABC Metro Washington and Virginia Chapters Excellence in Construction Awards, Award of Excellence

The International Spy Museum is a new 120,000 SF, build to suit flag ship location for one of DC’s most visited organizations. The project includes three floors of museum exhibits resting on a base of retail, education and lobby spaces. The facility is topped with administrative offices and a dramatic special events facility with sweeping views of the city.

Since 2002, the International Spy Museum has called DC’s Penn Quarter home. The organization grew tremendously over the last two decades and was in search of an iconic location within the District in order to meet the needs for a world class facility. The International Spy Museum, teamed up with Developers JBG, Design Architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) and Architects Hickok Cole to make the new vision a reality.

The design positions the Museum as a catalyst to reinvigorate 10th Street SW and to connect the National Mall to the future developments south of the site. The building is situated on the L’Enfant Plaza; retail and transportation hub, and is nestled within a collection of 1960’s I.M. Pei buildings.

The concept for the design is a play on the business of espionage, “hidden in plain sight”. The mystery and intrigue of the exhibits are obscured behind a dark metal “black box” which sits above a transparent base. With its evocative form, powerful slopped columns, folded metal panel skin, and pleated glass veil the museum makes vibrant architectural and urban statement in the existing concrete canyon of 10th Street.

The project lies within the purview of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and received Full Building Permit approval and support in July of 2016. The project begun construction in late 2016, and the museum celebrated its grand opening in May 2019.