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Customs House - A Simulation with a View

Designing the future with a VR simulation of Sydney's Customs House

Dreamr was delighted to be asked to create a virtual reality simulation for Sydney’s prestigious Customs House. This was part of a new commercial fit-out undertaken by Hub Australia. With iconic views of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, this heritage sandstone building is considered the heart of Circular Quay.

The team implemented a multi-story VR simulation and screen-based simulation that included a cafe, private offices, a beautiful light chamber running down the middle of the building and even functioning virtual elevator. 

From the moment the elevator doors open, the users are met with the buzzing atmosphere of a bustling co-working space. They delve forward into the stylish reception area where they are then free to explore the boardroom, breakout rooms, bathrooms and private offices. Users are given the functionality to toggle the view to include / exclude the people and furniture. 

Once they are done exploring this floor they can jump back in the elevator and head up to the next floor. As they pass the vast light chamber in the centre of the building they can almost feel the warmth of the natural light flooding in. Far below they can see the people on the ground floor.

"The quality was fantastic! This will now become part of our standard operating procedure.” - JOHN PREECE, CHIEF PROPERTY OFFICER, HUB AUSTRALIA

They continue to explore through to the executive offices on the corner of the building and look out on the views of the harbour. This gives geographical context to the space and emphasizes the amazing location to those that were experiencing the simulation from overseas.

The Strategy

A project like this has many stakeholders and it was quickly identified that the simulation could be used to conveyed the final vision to multiple grounds through a variety of channels.

Firstly, it enabled the executive team and investors an opportunity to fully experience the proposed design and raise comments and concerns before work commenced. This was a critical project consideration as there was a short period of time allocated to complete the physical work. By exploring the building via a virtual reality tour, the executive committee gained the confidence that the final design aligned with expectations with minimised risk of redesign after-the-fact.

Secondly, an on-site simulation was setup to allow site managers and contractors the ability to cross-check specific design elements to ensure the fit-out matched the plans. This came in handy on multiple occasions to avoid partitions and amenities being installed in the wrong locations.

Finally, the simulations was also designed to provide a virtual tour to prospective tenants looking to rent space in the co-working environment. As many of Hub Australia's target clients are international companies looking to setup in Australia, we created an opportunity for them to explore the space remotely either via VR or as a traditional, screen-based simulation. This helped increase occupancy in the building on opening day.

When asked about the success of the project, Hub Australia's Chief Property Officer, John Preece shared, "the quality was fantastic! This will now become part of our standard operating procedure.”

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