Dezeen Magazine

Spyscape by David Adjaye

David Adjaye reveals plans for New York's first spy museum

British architect David Adjaye has released plans for a museum in New York City dedicated to espionage, featuring dimly lit interiors and self-contained exhibitions in weathering-steel drums.

Adjaye Associates will create the interactive museum by renovating a building in Midtown Manhattan. Named Spyscape, it will include observation areas, screens and transparencies between floors.

The espionage museum will have exhibitions "focused on one of seven macro-themes of spying", the firm stated, such as surveillance, hacking, deception and intelligence operations. Each of the exhibitions will be housed in separate "pavilions" made from weathering-steel drums and curved paneling.

Spyscape by David Adjaye

The design is intended to reference the dark, mysterious aesthetics typically associated with spy organisations. The architecture firm also consulted former members of renowned hacking collectives, and former station chiefs and directors of intelligence agencies, to help guide the proposals.

The 60,000-square-foot (5,574-square-metre) space will be composed of smoked glass, bespoke fibre cement, dark grey acoustic paneling and mirror-polished steel. Custom-made display cases and a large digital lighting canopy will decorate the interior.

Spyscape by David Adjaye

Visitors will be greeted by a open-plan space underneath a vaulted, light canopy. Spyscape will also include a cafe, event spaces, and a book shop with over 1,000 rare and first edition spy books.

The museum is set to open December 2017 and will be located on West 55th Street, just two blocks away from MoMA.

Ghanaian-British architect Adjaye is becoming well-known for his museum designs, including the recently completed National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. His contemporary art museum in San Antonio, Texas broke ground in June 2017.

Spyscape by David Adjaye

Adjaye, who has an office in New York City, was named the world's most influential architect by Time magazine earlier this year. He was also knighted last December – recognising his "achievements and service of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom".

His other builings in New York include the completed Sugar Hill housing project in Harlem, and a proposed tower for the Financial District – images of which leaked earlier this year.