VMFA Selects Gilbane Building Company to Manage Expansion and Renovation Construction

Innovative Global Firm will Coordinate and Supervise the Museum’s Transformative Building Project

Richmond, VA — The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced that the global firm Gilbane Building Company has been selected as the Construction Manager at Risk, charged with planning and supervising construction of the museum’s upcoming renovation and expansion project, which includes the James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing II, the largest expansion in its history.  

At this time, VMFA is awarding a contract to Gilbane to perform preconstruction services. A separate contract for the construction work phase remains contingent upon the parties reaching agreement on certain terms later in the process.

“Gilbane has proven experience managing major, state-of-the-art museum construction projects, making them an ideal choice for supervising the expansion and renovations launched by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “Our shared values of innovation, sustainability, inclusion and collaboration are fundamental to the museum’s project. We are thrilled to have Gilbane on board.”

Gilbane, one of the top construction companies in the United States, will be responsible for coordinating and supervising the construction of the museum’s new, additional wing and renovations to existing spaces, including VMFA’s Leslie Cheek Theater. 

As a Construction Manager at Risk, Gilbane will work alongside VMFA and the design team during the design and preconstruction process to help evaluate costs, provide value management options and determine constructability, as well as serve as the general contractor during building construction. The goal of working with the Construction Manager at Risk model is to reduce time, money and effort by developing the most cost-effective and feasible building design before construction begins.

The company has a track record in Richmond, building, renovating and restoring arts and culture institutions throughout the city, including iconic projects such as the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Contemporary Art, Richmond CenterStage, Landmark Theater, Altria Theater Renovation and Carpenter Center Theaters. Nationally, Gilbane has managed expansion and construction projects at several museums including the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences; Cleveland Museum of Art; Corning Museum of Glass; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and The Norton Museum of Art.

“Gilbane is incredibly honored to renovate and expand this jewel of a museum,” said Margaret Reed, Gilbane Building Company’s Richmond Business Leader. “We are excited to work with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and international firm SmithGroup to deliver this extraordinary cultural project. Gilbane looks forward to  driving economic inclusion and building community through this project, while we work with our partners to expand Richmond’s rich arts and culture history.”

VMFA began its transformative expansion and renovation project, led by the international architecture and engineering firm SmithGroup, in June 2021. Tentatively scheduled for completion in 2027, the project consists of adding the new James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing II of nearly 170,000 square feet and renovating 45,000 square feet of existing spaces, while maintaining four acres of green space in the E. Claiborne and Lora Robins Sculpture Garden.

The project will enable visitors to experience a seamless journey through the collections in VMFA’s new wing, which will house contemporary art, African art, American art, a new suite of galleries for rotating special exhibitions and a special-events space. The expansion and renovation will also enable the museum to display more art, welcome more visitors and provide more enjoyment.

“We value Gilbane’s spirit of ingenuity, technical expertise and pragmatic oversight,” said Michael R. Taylor, VMFA’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art and Education, who is the Project Director for the expansion and renovation project. “We look forward to collaborating with them to realize this new, transformative vision for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.”

VMFA’s expansion and renovations will be informed by Virginians. Since kicking off the project, the museum has been actively engaging participants throughout the Commonwealth to better understand the visitor experience and learn more about the public’s vision for the future of the institution.

The design process will be complete, and final architectural renderings are anticipated, in winter 2023. The museum’s campus will then be prepared for construction, which is tentatively expected to begin in fall 2024. VMFA will remain open to visitors during construction. Learn more about VMFA’s expansion and renovation project and get project updates at www.VMFA.museum.

About Gilbane Building Company

Gilbane Building Company provides a full slate of construction and facilities-related services — from pre-construction planning and integrated consulting capabilities to comprehensive construction management, general contracting, design-build and facility management services — for clients across various markets. Founded in 1870 and still a privately held, family-owned company, Gilbane has more than 45 office locations worldwide. The company has extensive experience in building historic cultural institutions and iconic destinations including the National Air and Space Museum, onePULSE Memorial & Museum, Norton Museum of Art, Corning Museum of Glass, Gulfshore Playhouse, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. 

Gilbane seeks to maximize participation by diverse-owned businesses, including minority- and women-owned businesses, and to have a diverse, local workforce on its construction projects. The company has committed to generating $4 billion in awards to minority-, women-, disadvantaged, LGBT Business Enterprise and veteran-owned businesses over the next five years (2022–2026). The power that the construction industry has in moving the needle on economic inclusion is unique. Gilbane feels it is a responsibility as builders to apply an economic inclusion lens to all they do, ensuring that their projects do well and benefit the communities in which we work and live. The company recognizes economic inclusion as an opportunity for growth and continuous improvement, and Gilbane Building Company works to set a foundation for lasting change. For more information, visit www.GilbaneCo.com.

About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, is one of the largest comprehensive art museums in the United States. VMFA, which opened in 1936, is a state agency and privately endowed educational institution. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret art, and to encourage the study of the arts. Through the Office of Statewide Partnerships program, the museum offers curated exhibitions, arts-related audiovisual programs, symposia, lectures, conferences, and workshops by visual and performing artists. In addition to presenting a wide array of special exhibitions, the museum provides visitors with the opportunity to experience a global collection of art that spans more than 6,000 years. VMFA’s permanent holdings encompass nearly 50,000 artworks, including the largest public collection of Fabergé outside of Russia, the finest collection of Art Nouveau outside of Paris and one of the nation’s finest collections of American art. VMFA is also home to important collections of Chinese art, English silver, and French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, British sporting and modern and contemporary art, as well as renowned South Asian, Himalayan and African art. In May 2010, VMFA opened the James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing I after a transformative expansion, previously the largest in its history. 

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is the only art museum in the United States open 365 days a year with free general admission. For additional information, telephone 804.340.1400 or visit www.VMFA.museum


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Media Contacts

Jan Hatchette | 804.204.2721 | jan.hatchette@VMFA.museum 

Amy Peck | 804.773.1791| amy.peck@VMFA.museum 

Kyla Coleman | 804.204.2702 | kyla.coleman@VMFA.museum

200 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd., Richmond, VA 23220