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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

with MICA Architects and SMBW

An extension and renovation of the existing museum building, which houses a fine collection of art, furniture and a recognised Fabergé Collection. An addition to the north side of the museum, the new buildings provide more than 200,000ft² of new gallery space.

In the midst of the Great Depression, Virginia’s political and business leaders bravely demonstrated their faith in the future and their belief in the value of art by opening the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. The English Renaissance-style headquarters building designed by Peebles and Ferguson Architects of Norfolk barely hinted at the innovative mandate given to the fledgling institution: the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was to serve as the state’s flagship art museum and as the headquarters for an educational network.

The galleries are conditioned using a displacement air supply system. This resulted in reduced plant size and 30% lower running costs when compared to mixing conditioning systems traditionally adopted in galleries in the USA. Other innovative low-energy options employed include the use of heat recovery on all plant, adiabatic cooling and highefficiency chillers.

In addition, Atelier Ten were employed to undertake life-cycle cost analyses and develop design proposals for a major site-wide upgrade of the services infrastructure. The economic and environmental sustainability of the project are the key parameters in this work.