Royal West of England Academy

Project Overview

  • LocationBristol
  • ClientBeard - Bristol
  • ArchitectChilds Sulzmann Architects
  • M&E ConsultantQODA
  • M&E ContractorNuttal Engineering

The Royal West of England Academy (RWA) became Bristol’s first public art gallery when it was built in 1858. A spectacular Grade II* listed building in the heart of the city, the RWA is the UK’s only Royal Academy of Art housed in its own, original, purpose-built gallery.

The Light and Inspiration project is described as the most significant development to the Grade II* listed building for more than a century. The renovation includes major structural repairs, remodelling of the Victorian building’s façade, improvements to retail and reception areas, enlargement of the existing café, and significant improvements to all gallery spaces. A £4.5m transformation securing the future of this Bristol Institution.

GDS worked over several years in direct collaboration with our friends at the RWA, and the highly skilled electrical team at QODA in Bristol to strike a fine balance between the widely differing requirements for illumination, and the need to protect and preserve such valuable exhibits.

Solutions Provided

GDS ranges were the perfect solution for the restoration of the magnificent victorian galleries. An unrivalled quality of light from both direct and indirect sources, designed and manufactured here in the city. The Alundra’s discreet form is complemented wonderfully by Acrux LED Strip, and Capella Neon Flex to delivery a beautifully defined lighting solution to this landmark space. Perfect Illuminance that does not draw focus from the RWA’s enviable collection.

"We are absolutely delighted to be asked to support the RWA again as they undertook their biggest restoration project in over a century. We take huge pride in supporting local projects and this was no exception. An exceptional space that has transformed the experience of visitors and the wider community."

John Blamey

Technical Manager (GDS)