Adjaye Associates collaborate with former spy chiefs to design New York museum dedicated to espionage

We've been able to challenge the traditional museum typology with a design that creates a new model of visitor experience which straddles the physical and digital worlds
– Lucy Tilley, Associate Director, Adjaye Associates

Adjaye Associates have revealed their design for a new spy museum and interactive experience in the heart of New York, which is set to open this December.

The studio’s design for the 60,000sq ft (5,500sq m) building, called SPYSCAPE, is inspired by the architectural language of the world’s largest spy organisations and has been developed in collaboration with former directors of intelligence agencies and station chiefs.

Conceived as an “iconic destination that draws visitors into the secretive universe of espionage through a collection of world-class artefacts, dynamic storytelling and customised experience”, the museum will be located in Midtown Manhattan, two blocks west of the Museum of Modern Art.

Galleries will be housed across seven bespoke pavilions. Each is formed of a weathered steel drum, features a distinctive material palette and is focused on a separate theme. To evoke the world of spycraft through the design, architectural flourishes include the use of smoked glass, bespoke fibre cement, dark grey acoustic panelling and mirror polished steel.

Adjaye Associates said they have aimed to “essentially establish a small town within a building”, entered via a spacious events space beneath a vaulted light canopy.

They added that “spaces will continually shift the visitor's vantage point and prioritise the experiences of discovery and observation, using lighting, screens and transparencies between floors and partially obscured interstitial circulation spaces that open up into immersive, fully interactive multimedia environments.”

Associate director Lucy Tilley said: “It’s been exciting to work with a client as truly innovative as SPYSCAPE, and we have been able to challenge the traditional museum typology with a design that creates a new model of visitor experience which straddles the physical and digital worlds. This will be an utterly unique cultural destination for New York City.”

The museum will also house a café, temporary exhibition and private event spaces, and a spy bookshop with over 1,000 rare and first edition spy books.

Adjaye Associates are not the only architects delving into the world of espionage and spycraft. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have designed a new home for the International Spy Museum, which is currently being constructed in Washington D.C.

Adjaye Associates  Spyscape  New York  architecture  design 
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Work starts on Washington's Spy Museum, designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Adjaye Associates have revealed their design for a new spy museum and interactive experience in the heart of New York, which is set to open this December. The studio’s design for the 60,000sq ft (5,500sq m) building, called SPYSCAPE, is inspired by the architectural language of the world’s largest spy organisations and has been developed in collaboration with former directors of intelligence agencies and station chiefs. Conceived as an “iconic
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The studio’s design for the 60,000sq ft building, called Spyspace, is inspired by the architectural language of the world’s largest spy organisations / Adjaye Associates
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