Oculus, St Paul's Cathedral

Ultra-modern meets ancient with the juxtaposition of state-of-the-art technologies mounted on pristine steel structures in the vault of historic St. Paul’s Cathedral. The care and consideration required to keep all installations sensitive to this iconic Grade 1 Listed monument were heightened by its status as a dynamic working church.

“We are immensely proud of this new project which communicates the cathedral’s story in such imaginative and creative ways. We hope that through this experience our visitors will learn more about the cathedral’s history and also discover more about the daily life of a vibrant working church.” 

- The Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral

Oculus, which opened on 14th July 2010, is a 270º film experience in the vault of St Paul’s originally conceived as a means to help the disabled see inaccessible areas of the Cathedral but ultimately serving as a way to immerse the visitor into the fascinating 1400-year story of one of the nation’s most iconic landmarks.

Balancing films which chart the history of St Paul’s from its first iteration in Saxon times through the drama of the Great Fire of London and the Blitz, with virtual access movies which take the viewer on journeys up into the Dome and the Whispering Gallery as well as into the enormous model built by Wren, the experience is comprehensive and evocative.

The project required the utmost care and attention to detail not only in the specification of equipment that could seamlessly integrate with the Grade 1 Listed architecture, but also during the installation phase when every respect had to be paid to the daily routines of the church.

Small projectors and local players were selected to be innocuous within the vault, and great care was taken to choose and position speakers so as to avoid noise pollution in other parts of the cathedral. 18 blended and synchronised projectors immerse the visitor into an experience designed meticulously to be complimentary to the building, albeit through the implementation of modern technologies.

Through careful collaboration between Sysco and the audio guide provider, the exhibition uniquely allows multiple languages to be transmitted synchronously with the video, enhancing the experience for multinational visitors.

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