Cochran & Mann partnered with JBG Companies to construct the brand new 140,000 square foot International Spy Museum on top of L'Enfant Plaza in Southwest Washington, D.C. This three-phase project was designed to evoke a unique feeling for all of the guests who visit the museum.
Construction of a new 140,000 square foot museum on top of L'Enfant Plaza, including:
This project consisted of three phases: The first phase included modifications to existing structures and the garage below grade to support the new structure. This consisted of large scale paint matching to existing tenant and garage spaces so that space appeared unchanged. Jeff Guy, director of construction at the International Spy Museum, explained: "with a fast-paced design process, Cochran & Mann was instrumental in coating selection for a wide range of unique materials with substrate and application restrictions."
The second phase prioritized core and shell. This encompassed all of the background updates that most people don't see when they enter the building. In addition, the large exterior beams were painted red and gray during this phase. The final phase was the interior finishes and veiled stair. This entailed changes to everything from employee office spaces, exhibit floors, and the main entrance. Every aspect of this project was designed to have an awe-inspiring feeling once you enter the building. The exterior of the building was designed to be bright and airy, though once inside, the colors are dark and foreboding. Even the back hallways and stairways, which most people will never see, were painted with dark walls and black ceilings.
This project created many challenges from the start: The first was the building's location in front of the glass atrium and over top of the shops and parking garages at L'Enfant Plaza. This created the need to move workers, materials, and equipment around without disturbing the existing businesses, government offices, and people. Additional challenges included implementing a way to easily identify how many coats of paint were on all the walls of the exhibit floors. This was necessary to meet the architect's standards for environmental controls. As Jeff mentioned, "in addition to the technical challenge, the project had multiple iterations of significant wall changes with major patch and repair work in the exhibit areas."
The final and most time-consuming challenge was the massive veil stair. Although Cochran & Mann painted the first several coats before the stair was hung, the entire structure had to be completed with glass, poured and polished concrete, handrails, and lights. This was done because as weight was added to the structure, it would bend, deflect, and have to be adjusted back to level. As Jeff said, "the Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS) alone required applications from a 90’ scaffold, several high reach boom lifts, painting steel immediately on the ground between delivery and erection, and even traveling to fabricators’ shops to paint steel between fabrication and off-site assembly". Although this was the most challenging aspect of this project, most people agree that the veiled staircase is the focal point of the façade.
The project resulted in a visually stunning building full of color that is creating a lot of talk in downtown D.C. This is a one-of-a-kind museum and tourist attraction that Clark Construction partnering with Cochran & Mann are proud to show off. "The Cochran & Mann team was crucial to the International Spy Museum’s success in delivering an architectural monument with highly-functional museum and event spaces, built with the technical rigor of Smithsonian’s Design Criteria" as stated by Jeff.
"As always, Cochran & Mann’s fairness with tickets and change order pricing, especially within the 'point-up/touch-up' feedback loop, sets them entirely apart from their competition." - Jeff Guy
At Cochran & Mann, we pride ourselves on fair and professional service. Trust us to help you achieve all of your goals on your next commercial project. We look forward to hearing from you.