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Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre

Projects / Public

Client Department of Veteran's Affairs

Location Kanchanaburi, Thailand

GMB were engaged in mid-2017 to provide architectural services for a holistic mid-life redevelopment of the Hellfire Pass Interpretative Centre (HFPIC), a two-storey building located near Kanchanaburi, Thailand. HFPIC was opened in 1998 to assist visitors to the region in understanding the experiences of Australian Prisoners of War (POWs) and the Asian Workers who were involved in the construction of the Thai-Burma Railway during the Second World War.

The new building works have been designed to achieve the increased floor area and facilities as briefed, while respecting both the established architectural character of the facility and the immediately surrounding landscape, with numerous trees requiring preservation.

In addition to the above base building works, GMB were responsible for coordinating the design of the Interpretative Exhibition, which describes for visitors the war time experiences of Australian POWs – and other nationalities – at Hellfire Pass. Design elements of the exhibition included a combination of graphic panels with bilingual text and accompanying artwork, audio-visual points, and multi-media and interpretative installations. These items were designed in close collaboration with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (Office of Australian War Graves) and consulting exhibition designers, Thylacine.

The remote location of the Hellfire Pass Interpretative Centre was considered in the specification of low maintenance building materials and exhibition elements. Determining appropriate specifications for the project’s Thai context was achieved through collaboration with Bangkok based architects The Beaumont Partnership (TBP). Compliance to Australian and Thai Building Standards was required, with GMB working closely with TBP and both Australian and Thailand based building services consultants. Site planning for the new car park required sensitivity to the requirements of the local Thai land-title holders.