SL 17-091


420 10th Street, SW
United States

D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
International Spy Museum, L'Enfant Plaza
New museum building--signs and banner
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Mr. Snider:

In its meeting of 20 April, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed two concept submissions for new proposals associated with the International Spy Museum building, now under construction within the central space of the L’Enfant Plaza complex at 429 L’Enfant Plaza, SW. The Commission reiterated its strong support for the design of the museum building and took the following actions.

Rooftop terrace shade structure (case number SL 17-090). The Commission complimented the design of the rooftop shade structure, expressing appreciation for its integration with the architecture of the museum and for the consideration of the long views to the building. Recommending that the final design be simplified if possible by eliminating the vertical wind screening, the Commission approved the concept and delegated the review of the final submission to the staff.

Museum signs (case number SL 17-091). The Commission members approved the concept designs for the building identity signs at the museum entrances and for the large, sculptural “SPY” sign at the main entrance to the building. They also approved the concept for the proposed applied film graphics at the lobby windows, while expressing reservations about their necessity; they requested further development of an abstract design for these graphics with narrative consistency with the theme of the museum. While the Commission approved the concept for an exhibition banner sign, they urged the International Spy Museum to consider alternate solutions for the banner as proposed for the north facade of the building. Finding the banner to be an overly conventional solution for an unconventional building, they expressed doubt that the location and size of the banner would in fact serve the desired purpose. They observed that the building itself will attract visitors; they recommended the exploration of more innovative solutions to signal the building’s identity from the north and more effective locations to convey special exhibition information, possibly along or within the ground floor lobby.

The Commission looks forward to review of the next submission for the International Spy Museum. As always, the staff is available to assist you.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Britt Snider
The JBG Companies
4445 Willard Avenue, Suite 400
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

cc: Ivan Harbour, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Milton Maltz, International Spy Museum
Elizabeth Miller, National Capital Planning Commission
Jennifer Steingasser, D.C. Office of Planning