The 60,000-square-foot space, located at 928 8th Ave., will essentially create a small town inside two floors of a midtown office building; exhibitions are housed in bespoke pavilions, each focused on one of seven themes of spying. Varied environments continually shift visitors’ perspectives, using lighting, screens, bridges and transparency between floors to create a sense of intrigue, curiosity and maybe a little dread. Materials like smoked glass, fiber cement, dark grey acoustic paneling and weathered and mirror-polished steel add to the shadowy, enigmatic environment.
Visitors enter the exhibition through a vaulted light canopy, after which partially-obscured circulation spaces open up into the varied pavilions and immersive multimedia environments featuring digital displays on screens, tables, even floors and walls.
“We’ve been able to challenge the traditional museum typology with a design that straddles the physical and digital worlds,” said Lucy Tilley, Associate Director for Adjaye Associates.
One of the largest structures (focusing on surveillance) will consist of a giant drum clad with curved, weathered steel panels. Other zones will focus on hacking, interrogation, code breaking and historic spy artifacts. The project was developed in collaboration with former station chiefs and directors of various intelligence agencies who, of course, can’t reveal who they are. The museum will also contain a café, private event space, and a book shop containing several rare spy tomes. Tickets are on sale as of today here.