Construction begins on new and expanded International Spy Museum in Washington D.C.

The building will have a glass veil that surrounds an enclosed black box, a setup that the museum hopes will add vibrancy to its new L’Enfant Plaza location.

June 17, 2016 |
Construction begins on new and expanded International Spy Museum in Washington D.C.

The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. Rendering courtesy SPY. Click here to enlarge.

The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., will be moving next year. If you want the new location of the museum you'll have to travel to a park in Partridge, Kan., where a package awaits you in a hollowed-out tree. 

Just kidding! The museum says that it will relocate to a different spot in D.C., at L’Enfant Plaza between the National Mall and the Southwest Waterfront’s Wharf.

Construction has begun on the new 140,000-sf building. Designed by Washington, D.C.’s Hickok Cole Architects and London’s Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the museum will have a glass veil wall in front of an enclosed black-box exhibition space, a setup that contributes to the museum’s “hiding in plain sight” theme. 

The glass allows people to see activity inside and outside the museum, which the museum says will add energy to the L'Enfant Plaza. Considered a masterpiece when it opened, the plaza, which sits between a handful of commercial buildings with a shopping mall underneath, has been involved in renovation and demolition plans for years.

The building will have a theater and event spaces, and it will have more exhibition and educational spaces than its current location a few blocks north of the National Mall.

Opened in 2002, the International Spy Museum (SPY) contains exhibits that detail how spies recruit and train, make and break codes, and create false identities. Galleries of artifacts, photos, and videos show the history of espionage from Biblical times through the Cold War to today. The most popular special exhibit is Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains, where visitors learn about the bad guys in the James Bond film series and how the franchise’s plots have adapted to changes in real-life spying.

The new museum will open in 2018 (Curbed Washington reports that the current museum’s lease doesn’t expire until the end of next year). The project’s developers are The Malrite Company and JBG Companies.

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