Friday, April 24, 2015

International Spy Museum Renderings

Although it appears that plans are moving forward to bring the International Spy Museum to L’Enfant Plaza, the deal is not done yet. In an email to SWTLQTC, Matthew Blocher from JBG stated: “It is important to note that we are in discussions with the Spy Museum, though contrary to the reports in various media sources, we do not have a deal at this point in time. We are very excited about the possibility of the Spy Museum coming to L'Enfant as we believe that it would provide an incredible amount of energy to this area of Southwest, similar to their impact when they opened in the Penn Quarter.” 

Nevertheless, a revised concept plan for 900 L’Enfant Plaza was presented to the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) on April 16, which included a six-story building facing 10th Street that would be used as the new home of the Spy Museum. Behind the museum is a courtyard and office building. Previously, 900 L'Enfant Plaza was planned as strictly an office building. Below are some additional renderings of the proposed museum and office building, designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, that would be located in the plaza. 

In a letter to developer JBG dated today, the CFA stated their support for the idea of the International Spy Museum to move to L’Enfant Plaza and general concept. From the letter: 
They commended the project team on the planning and design of the building and site, expressing support for the concept of projecting the museum’s west facade into public space for this particular program and location. 
However, the Commission has concerns about the positioning of the proposed buildings and some design elements. The development team will need to go back before the CFA with a revised concept submission. 

If the International Spy Museum relocates from Penn Quarter to L’Enfant Plaza, it could serve to draw people south from the National Mall on their way to The Wharf. The addition of 600,000 to 700,000 annual visitors to the area (the current number of visitors to the Spy Museum) would help transform this office-heavy area of Southwest and dovetails with the SW Ecodistrict Initiative, which calls for a better mix of uses, including museums, residential, and hotels. 

Renderings courtesy of the Commission of Fine Arts


AMK said...

The renderings of what the L'Enfant Plaza courtyard could look like in the future show the area being very congested. Looks like they're trying to cram as many buildings as possible into that small geographic area. It looks excessively crowded. I also don't understand how this fits in with the recently expanded/modernized entrance to the L'Enfant Plaza below-ground retail area. Looks like that would go away based on these renderings.

Anonymous said...

It's certainly bold, and the museum will be a powerful draw. More people outside workday hours might mean the retail (which is surprisingly useful!) will also stay open later to benefit us residents.

If anything, the area suffers from too much open space -- 10th Street is so very wide, and that plaza serves zero purpose whatsoever.