Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: Richmond Building

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond Architecture, Architects, Photos, Design, Project

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts – Extension : Richmond Building

Architectural Development, USA – design by Rick Mather Architects

May 7, 2010

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Extension

2002- approx.

Design: Rick Mather Architects


Rick Mather Architects’ $150m site wide masterplan and expansion of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia has opened to the public.

The new 15,330m2 (165,000 sq.ft) McGlothlin Wing opens VMFA up to the city and provides extensive new space for the museum’s collections and study centre. The museum reports that this expansion makes them one of the ten largest encyclopaedic museums in the United States and was described by the Director Alex Nyerges as “nothing short of spectacular.”

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Richmond Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Extension Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Building
images Travis Fullerton © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

The $7 million E. Claiborne and Lora Robins Sculpture Garden combined with the Mary Morton Parsons Plaza act as a square onto the Boulevard, and under a hill at the end of the gardens a new 600 car parking deck completes the redevelopment of the thirteen and a half acre site campus which also includes three other historic buildings.

The five level limestone and glass entrance wing features two floors of permanent collection galleries, including American art from the James W and Frances G McGlothlin collection and the J Harwood and Louise B Cochrane Fund, the museum’s twenty-first century collection, and one of the US’s leading collections of art from India, Nepal and Tibet.

The new wing adds fifty percent additional exhibition space to the existing 35,300m2 (380,000 sq.ft) building. There is 139 m2 (1500sq.ft) of changing exhibition space for major touring exhibitions. The building also includes the Art Education centre, the Freeman library, a gift shop, state of the art object and painting conservation facilities, a 150 seat lecture hall, the ‘Best’ cafe with garden terrace and pool, and a restaurant overlooking the Sculpture Garden.

The focus of the expansion is the atrium space with its five bridges connecting across all floors of the building. Work in the original building include new and reconfigured existing galleries to house the internationally renowned Sydney and Frances Lewis Collections of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Modern and Contemporary American art, and the Museum’s Ancient Art and Chinese Collections.

The design of the new building plaza and sculpture garden  opens up the VMFA to the city. The VMFA’s announces itself to Richmond with Barry Flanagan’s golden ‘bunny’ behind the atrium’s 12m (40ft) high window facing the Boulevard. Natural light floods into the heart of the museum and a wall of glass opens the atrium, cafe and restaurant onto the pools, fountain and sculpture garden.

The VMFA marks Rick Mather Architects first major commission in the United States. The project has been delivered in collaboration with SMBW Architects, a Richmond-based firm.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Extension info from Rick Mather Architects May 2010

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Expansion – Building Information

Location: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Architect: Rick Mather Architects
Executive Architects: Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas
Client: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Contract Value: $150 m
Date of completion: Apr 2010
Gross internal area: 165,000 sqft/15,330m² New Build 42,000 sqft/3,900m² Renovation

Rick Mather has returned to his homeland to add a new wing to Richmond’s Museum of Fine Arts. The project provides not only three new floors of gallery space, it also adds a shop, library, lecture hall, conservation studios, offices and a cafe and restaurant overlooking a four acre sculpture garden.

This is Mather at his best: making sense of what is there but adding his own finely-honed stamp. The museum, which used to turn its back on the city with it blind facades, now addresses the grand boulevard on which it is sited in a very civic manner with a 40 foot high window of low-energy glass. Materially the building takes its cue from the old in its use of limestone. This is masterful city-making.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts information from RIBA

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Richmond
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Virginia Museum Fine Arts Richmond : background on this building

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Extension images / information from Rick Mather Architects

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Richmond extension architect : Rick Mather

Location:Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

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