Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Since opening in 1936, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has developed an art collection of global scope and international significance. Designed in collaboration with Rick Mather of London, England, the expansion added 100,000 square feet of new space to the existing 240,000-square-foot museum, and increased previous gallery space by 50 percent. A new atrium connects the new building with two existing wings and opens onto a new library, museum shop, café, and galleries. The atrium culminates in a 40-foot-high glass wall overlooking Richmond’s historic Boulevard to signal the purpose of the Museum to the City. A new sculpture garden, designed by Olin Partnership, stitches together the entire museum campus and rises as a sloped lawn to a roof garden over submerged visitor parking.


The expansion adds more than 100000 sqf to the existing 240000 sqf building. The additional program includes a large sculpture garden, extensive new galleries, educational facilities, restaurant, cafe, library, administrative offices, and a landscaped, terraced parking deck.

Location Richmond, VA, USA
Date Completed 2010
Architect Rick Mather Architects
Architect SMBW
Landscape Architect Olin Partnership
Client Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Type Museums + Cultural Institutions
size100,000 ft2 / 9,300 m2
Status Built

L'Observatoire Intl Team
Principal Hervé Descottes
Project Leader Eleni Savvidou
Awards AIA Excellence in Architeture Award , 2010
RIBA Lubetkin Prize Shortlist , 2011
Press Architectural Record, Oct 2010
Photo Credits Bilyana Dimitrova Photography