Organisations in the arts and heritage sectors are often intimately associated with the spaces they occupy – a great cultural building reinforces a brand, puts an organisation on the map, welcomes a broader audience and keeps them coming back time and again. Creating places that will inspire, educate and entertain increasingly sophisticated generations of visitors is no mean feat, especially with ever-greater competition for their attention and leisure time.
Deep understanding of the cultural sector
It takes a special kind of consultant to fully understand the challenges associated with cultural buildings. For decades, we have been collaborating on some of the world’s most inspiring and beloved cultural landmarks. Our experts help cultural organisations around the world evolve and enhance the experience for increasingly sophisticated visitors and audiences. We work hand in hand with local communities, translating our clients’ visions into beautiful, adaptable and cost-effective buildings that always perform exactly as they should.
Our cultural projects encompass galleries, museums, performance venues and community spaces on every continent, each with their own unique story - from the London’s Guildhall School of music and Drama beneath 30 storeys of apartments to the sustainable National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC to the spectacular Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, and from the stunning facade of Calgary’s National Music Centre to new building services for Gaslockan, a classic Stockholm landmark.
We strive to bring some ‘wow’ factor to the spaces we design and set the scene for compelling experiences that will be remembered for years to come. WSP helps cultural organisations harness the power of architecture and engineering to support their success and growth. We specialise in designing and delivering stunning structures such as the Star Performing Arts Centre in Singapore and the Victoria Memorial Museum of Nature in Ottawa.
An unforgettable visitor experience starts with a flawless performance from the building itself. There is no room for error when it comes to creating the right conditions for priceless works of art or world-class musicians, supporting complex stage infrastructure or maintaining a comfortable internal environment for visitors and audiences – however difficult it may be to reconcile these goals, and no matter how challenging the external climate.
Our teams are highly skilled in developing strategies for cultural buildings, harnessing the most advanced engineering and state-of-the-art technologies. Whether we are restoring a historic ship Cutty Sark or setting the stage for a Cirque du Soleil spectacular, we know that the art of creating the perfect environment must always remain completely invisible.
Performance and value
WSP is proud to have played a role in many of the world’s greenest cultural buildings. From breathtaking lighting design for the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania and flawless acoustics for the Dubai Opera House to rigorous climate control for the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane and robust security for the new Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi, our teams provide creative, tailored solutions that meet stringent building criteria while reducing carbon emissions and running costs.
We understand the tough budgetary constraints that cultural organisations are facing, so we always strive to help them minimise costs and achieve the greatest possible benefit from their investment. We like to think we play an essential supporting role, underpinning our clients’ artistic and commercial success with flexible, efficient spaces that meet today’s toughest performance standards and ensure outstanding value for generations to come.
Transformation and renewal
Embracing the future doesn’t mean letting go of the past. We are proud to work with the world’s most prestigious cultural institutions as they strive to engage new generations of visitors and remain relevant in a fast-changing world. Our teams bring unrivalled expertise in sensitively updating precious heritage buildings to perform to the highest modern standards, while equipping them to handle whatever the future holds. We give much-loved landmarks, such as the SS Great Britain or the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, a new lease of life, keeping in mind what makes them unique.
Delivering value through innovation
We have delivered pioneering projects in every sphere of the arts, and for clients ranging from major international institutions to local charities. We understand that no two cultural projects are ever the same, so whether we are helping to create new architectural masterpieces or refreshing a much-loved institution, creating perfect conditions for the preservation of artworks, ensuring acrobats’ trapezes are safely anchored or creating the perfect acoustic environment for an opera, our record of helping clients achieve both inspiration and value through our innovative and common-sense approach is second to none.