Rick Mather Architects were selected from an international field of competitors in 2001 to masterplan and design a major expansion and renovation of this highly reputed, 65 year old encyclopedic museum and its 5.5 hectare (13.5 acre) campus. This marks the office's first major commission in the United States. The project was delivered in collaboration with SMBW Architects, a Richmond-based firm.

The expansion plan adds more than 9300m² to the existing 22300m² building. Completed in April 2010, the new museum complex includes a 4 acre sculpture garden, extensive new galleries, educational facilities, restaurant, cafe, library, administrative offices and a landscaped, terraced parking deck. It has re-established the VMFA as one of the country's leading encyclopedic museums, while placing its resource at the heart of the local community.

As a winner of an RIBA International Award the project will be considered for the Lutbetkin Prize, the shortlist of which will be unveiled in July. This award is given to an 'outstanding work of architecture' by a UK architect working outside the EU or a non-UK-based RIBA member working anywhere in the world and the winner announced at the RIBA Stirling Awards Ceremony on 1 October 2011.