Royal Society of Arts, London, UK

Royal Society of Arts


Technology Consultancy for AV and IT


18 Months


The client 

Royal Society of Arts   

The Royal Society of Arts is an enlightenment organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges. Through its ideas, research and 27,000 strong Fellowship, it seeks to understand and enhance human capability so we can close the gap between today’s reality and people’s hopes for a better World.


the brief 

Provide a technical solution that satisfies the sensitivities of English Heritage

The RSA House, home to the society since 1774, has recently undergone a historic refurbishment, designed to restore the unique collection of buildings which make up the RSA House on John Adam street back to their architectural origins. As part of the refurbishment members of the Recursive team were appointed to design a suitable technology solution which could fulfil the society’s mission within the 21st century in support of the RSA’s activities. 



The challenge 

21st Century technology in a Grade 1 listed space

The key challenge of refurbishing the society’s historical home has been to provide a technical solution that satisfies the sensitivities of English Heritage, while implanting fully integrated, flexible, forward thinking multimedia facilities that allow the RSA to continue to be at the forefront of intellectual thought.



The Outcome 

A completely flexible configuration

The Great Room is at the heart of the RSA House and provides advanced audio, video & multimedia and Broadcast facilities suitable to host a wide range of events, lectures, film screenings and external hire, such as weddings. The room features a retractable stage containing a 3.4m wide projection screen and in-tegrated microphones, audio, video and data connections along with a centre speaker for 7.1 surround sound presentations. A 20,000 Lumen Christie projector concealed above the main entrance within a bespoke housing, provides high contrast levels under all lighting conditions and can perform to cinematic standards with the lights dimmed. In addition, the Great Room and the Benjamin Franklin Room beneath have been provided with an intelligent under floor cable infrastructure terminating in floor plates that house custom-built media columns and production standard trusses. The media columns provide power, integral LED lighting, sound, robotic HD video cameras and data connectivity, all of which enables a completely flexible configuration for events including HD film screenings, lectures, banquets, fashion shows and art exhibitions. The system connectivity allows for the con-figuration of multiple rooms, and interaction using touch and gesture based displays and mobile devices.




RIBA Judges comments - "The scheme clarifies the purity of the original architecture, increases the flexibility of the spaces, and discreetly inserts 21st century technology into this historic building."