The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts expansion is a 160,000 SF, five-level, glass and stone wing featuring galleries for permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as expanded visitor amenities. The expansion is the largest in the museum’s history and adds 53,500 SF of gallery space to the historic facility. The project’s centerpiece is the James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing, which provides the museum with 50% more exhibition space and connects the new building through the Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Atrium, and opens onto a new art education center, the Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman Library, The Best Café, a gift shop and galleries.
The McGlothlin Wing includes a 12,000 SF gallery on the lower level, along with a 150-seat lecture hall. The first and second floors include a two-story entrance and the main gallery level, which includes 13-foot-high galleries with four bridges overlooking the sculpture garden. These span the atrium and are the main circulation paths throughout the museum. The third level features permanent-collection galleries, as well as the Conservation Center. The center encompasses 9,500 SF and includes studios for paintings, sculpture and decorative arts that are nearly three times the size of previous conservation spaces. The Conservation Center enjoys ample northern light from windows and skylights.