Rick Mather Architects in collaboration with a Richmond-based firm SMBW Architects had delivered their project of $150m site wide masterplan and expansion of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). This expansion has made the VMFA as one of the ten largest encyclopaedic museums in the United States. The project director Alex Nyerges described this as “nothing short of spectacular.”
The focus of the expansion is the atrium space where five bridges connect across all floors of the building. The new 15,330 square meter (165,000 sq.ft) McGlothlin Wing adds fifty percent additional exhibition space to the existing 35,300 square meter (380,000 sq.ft) building, providing extensive new space for the museum’s collections and study centre. The design of the new building plaza and sculpture garden opens up the VMFA to the city. A wall of glass opens the atrium, cafe and restaurant onto the pools, fountain and sculpture garden.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts announces itself to Richmond with Barry Flanagan’s golden ‘bunny’ behind the atrium’s 12m (40ft) high window facing the Boulevard. This expansion project marks Rick Mather Architects first major commission in the United States. (Images Travis Fullerton © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)