Beginning with WSP in 2015, Rachel Thomson, Lighting Designer in our Specialists Group for Property & Buildings is passionate about creating spaces for people to inhabit and experience.



Graduating from the University of Canberra with a Bachelor of Architecture and currently enrolled into Masters, Rachel says, “When I describe my role as a lighting designer to others, I talk about it as the fourth dimension to Architecture. Lighting for me goes beyond the beautiful interiors or exteriors. It is a way to enrich people’s experiences of spaces, bring a calmness to their daily lives and a way for us to bring our communities together.”


With a team of 10 lighting experts around the country, WSP delivers diverse projects that help to create a real sense of belonging. “We recently updated the façade lighting on the National Carillon, an architectural landmark in the ACT,” says Rachel. “We upgraded the light sources to LEDs to ensure we could achieve RGBW (Red, Green, Blue, White) colours. We also upgraded the operating system to make it more efficient and user-friendly. Since the revamp, we’ve seen the structure turn pink for breast cancer and green for St Patrick’s Day and blue or white for every other day. It is becoming quite iconic!”


A Canberra local, Rachel is thriving in the team’s family oriented culture. She says, “There is no us and them about our team. Our directors all have incredible relationships with their clients which fosters a collaborative environment where individuals can work together to provide an amazing service. It also means that we get to work on some of the most significant projects in the state.”


Rachel believes that ultimately we are all the same, and the key to achieving greater gender balance in the workplace is to break down barriers.


“While I see the merit in having women mentoring other women, this can sometimes appear forced. To make a real difference across the board, we need more men to mentor women and vice versa. It’s important that people’s talent is nurtured from the right leaders rather than the same sex.”


As one of our talented young professionals, Rachel was recently selected as a committee member for the Property Council of Australia’s ACT Planning and Residential Committee. “It’s a massive honour for me to be recognised,” adds Rachel. “I’m passionate about advancing female representation in the industry and to be involved in such a great initiative is exciting.” Rachel has also been a committee member for NAWIC’s ACT Professional Development committee since the start of 2018, “I take my role with them and NAWIC very seriously and look forward to making many great connections as my influence in these organisations deepen.”


“Having grown up on a farm with a family full of males, I don’t see why women shouldn’t strive to reach the same heights as men and I was always expected to achieve similar goals. On the weekend, you’ll find me on the farm, helping my dad and brothers with the family business. It’s great fun being able to get out of the city each weekend.”


Rachel’s extra-curricular involvements don’t stop there. A hobby which developed during her time at University has continued. “In my downtime I like to use my 3D printer to re-create Canberra’s iconic buildings. At the moment, I’m focusing on the National Library of Australia and Questacon. I’ve also created a Canberra-themed chess board that uses the city’s most iconic structures and buildings as the pieces and sits in the foyer at the office!”


WSP Diversity and Inclusion


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