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HPA Projects

Visitor Attraction and Visitor Centres

Commercial visitor attractions operate successfully if the balance between capital outlay, operational cost and visitation is sustainable. As designers in this specialised field we are acutely aware of the total project parameters and invest considerable attention to understanding the market, the cost to operate, the visitor reward and the capital invested to create a profitable enterprise.

Visitor attractions are usually unique facilities offering visitors a must see experience. Similarly, credibility is an essential characteristic.

Experience shows that the most successful visitor attractions are those with credibility as well as uniqueness. Uniqueness can be built in with special presentations but credibility can only usually be gained by architecture, location or direct connection to the subject. Unique features not only provide variety and interest, they are 'attention grabbing' and give the facility a prime marketing and advertising focus.

Our experience in this specialised field is extensive.  4 very different examples follow:

Pylon Lookout, Sydney Harbour Bridge

The South-east pylon of the Bridge is a hybrid visitor attraction / heritage museum. Our role was lead design consultant from inception to completion. This role was under 'Design and Construct' contract as head contractor for the $3 million project.

The Lookout receives 120,000 visitors per year and charges $10 for entry. The majority of visitors are international tourists.

Subaru Interactive, Docklands, Melbourne

Subaru constructed a $16 million showroom at the Docklands in Melbourne. HPA were engaged to design and project manage the internal fit-out, the core objective being to educate and entertain potential car buyers in a variety of exhibits, displays and interactive audio-visual theatrettes.

The facility is regarded as a model for future large scale showroom sales tools.

International Antarctic Centre, New Zealand

The centre has received over 200,000 visitors per year since opening over 10 years ago. Our role was lead design consultant from inception to completion. This included guiding the architectural building envelope design and controlling the internal fit-out design and implementation.

The centre is 2,200m2 and cost $10.5 million to construct and currently charges $30 per visitor.

BridgeClimb, New Operations Facility and Heritage Display Gallery

BridgeClimb are one of Australia's top visitor attraction operators. Over 150,000 customers climb the Bridge annually. We are currently engaged to design and project manage the new public operations facility in The Rocks which will provide a significant increase in climb operations' capacity, new retail, café and heritage display gallery.


A range of interpretive media and appropriate technology can be very successful especially when presenting information about difficult

and unusual subjects.

We conceive and usually direct all our audio-visual and special effect projects from story boarding to sourcing and selecting talent, to selecting musical score and briefing composers, to supervising film grading and editing and controlling budgets. In this way, audio-visual is always experienced as an integral element of communication, complimenting the narrative, rather than seen as a separately conceived element.

Our audio-visual experience for public display in a museum or visitor centre attraction is extensive.

A variety of examples follow:

'The Legend of 1021', Trainworks

Object theatre featuring a small locomotive and extensive set work. A 12 minute show tracking the history of the locomotive alongside milestones in Australian history utilising holographic actors, archival footage and lighting effects.

Director - Brian Shirley / Budget - $700,000

'Celebration', BridgeClimb, Sydney

Wide screen panorama shot for the purpose in H.D with aerials from helicopter.

Director - Matt Enfield

'Hellfire', Hellfire Pass Museum

Introduction presentation shown on CCD panel in three languages.

Director - Brian Shirley

'Hellfire', Hellfire Pass Museum

Drawn from historic footage this short film is shown in a dedicated theatre space.

Director - Brian Shirley

'Great White South', International Antarctic Centre, New Zealand

Widescreen Panorama, shot for purpose in 35mm, this huge audio-visual display shows on a 14m wide high-definition screen creating the vastness of Antarctica.

Director - Tom Hewitt / Budget - $600,000

'Building the Bridge', Pylon Lookout, Sydney

Combining archival black and white stills with shot for purpose aerial footage this 12 minute program tracks the construction and beauty if the Bridge.

Director - Tom Hewitt / Budget - $270,000

'The Wahine Disaster', Wellington Museum

Combining archival footage and made for purpose effects this program is the centrepiece of a memorial gallery documenting with minimal narration and maximum emotion the loss of life as a result of the Wahine Ferry Disaster.

Director - Gaylene Preston / Budget - $140,000

'A Perfect Ten', Bradman Museum

Sporting anthology and documentary screening in a made for purpose audio-visual room compares the 10 greatest modern sports people.

Director - Tom Hewitt / Budget - $400,000

'Hellfire', Hellfire Pass Museum

With an emotive musical score and an edit of limited war stills this non-narrated film is an emotive collage of the horror of the Thai-Burma Railway. Screen format 16:9, digital edit, shows in a 20 seat audio-visual space.

Director - Tom Hewitt / Budget - $110,000

'Kupe', Wellington Museum

One of four made for purpose short films. Kupe is narrated in Maori and combines animation with aerial footage to tell a traditional mythological legend. Screen: 16:9 vertical (12m high), shot on 35mm.

Director - Mike Perry / Budget - $190,000

'Mountain to Beach', Wellington Museum

This is a non-narrated short film that is simply a sequence of stunning aerial mountain footage. Shot for purpose by specialist chopper pilots around Mount Cook and Franz Josef Glacier the footage tracks a hair raising low altitude run from the summit of Mount Cook to the beaches of Westland. Screen 16:9 vertical (12m high), shot on 35mm.

Director - Mike Perry / Budget - $130,000

'Creation Legends', Wellington Museum

Combining an immersive environment (a recreated old store) with holographic animation and projection the 'Creation Legends' is an icon feature of the Bond Store. The show tells two ancient Maori myths - Tanepha (sea monster) and Mavi's Fire in a 15 minute high impact experience.

Director - Tom Hewitt / Technical Production - Steve Raynes, Brian Shirley / Budget - $660,000

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