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Oculus: An Eye Into St. Paul’s Cathedral

London, England

Oculus: An Eye Into St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral has stood at the City of London’s highest point for 1,400 years. The present-day cathedral, where services began in 1697, is the masterpiece of Britain’s most famous architect, Sir Christopher Wren. RAA was asked to create an experience at St. Paul’s for the first phase of a multi-year tourism program, which helped visitors learn about the cathedral’s architecture, its history, and the Christian faith.

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Presented in the crypt, a timeline illuminates its north aisle and highlights major events in the cathedral’s history. Advanced projection technology creates a 270-degree panoramic window into the cathedral’s ancient history, starting with its founding in 604 CE. The 20-minute audio-visual sequence evokes a dramatic history of place, including Blitz bombing, ringing church bells, flames and panoramic vistas.

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The viewer virtually “climbs” the 257 steps to the Whispering Gallery, and then continues up spiraling staircases to be rewarded with 360-degree panoramic views across London. A media presentation also shows behind-the-scenes footage of a day in the life of the cathedral. Areas that are physically inaccessible to visitors with mobility difficulties are represented virtually.

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After the opening of Oculus, St. Paul’s was voted Visitor Attraction of the Year 2010 by UKinbound, a leading tourism association, and received more visitors than the previous year. The exhibition was also supported by the World Monuments Fund.

Year 2010

Size 400 square feet

Oculus
The Interpretation Project, Crypt Exhibit, St Paul’s Cathedral Location: London, UK Exhibition Design: Ralph Appelbaum Associates