HHCP Design International Inc.
- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Helman Hurley Charvat Peacock/Architects, Inc. began in 1975 with the design of a simple bench that netted HHCP a total of $30. In 1991, in response to the burgeoning demand for its design services overseas, the company reorganized forming the holding company HHCP Inc., and HHCP Design International Inc. Based in Orlando, Florida, HHCP employs a staff of talented architects, planners, managers, project coordinators and support personnel who deliver imaginative projects for clients all over the world.
HHCP Inc. is comprised of four shareholders. Michael K. Chatham, AIA LEED AP president of HHCP Architects, Gregory Dungan AIA, John H. Jordan AIA, and Larry W. Ziebarth, president of HHCP Design International.
All projects designed by HHCP are created with the end-user in mind. HHCP often works with theme parks and resorts focusing on providing “the best guest experience”. “The architecture is based on spaces which are based on places which are based on activities and elements that create a desired lifestyle or guest experience,” says Ziebarth.
“The design approach of focusing on the user establishes a unique architectural process that differentiates HHCP from much of its competition.”
Knowing the market and employees
While working on resorts, residential communities and theme parks, keeping the end-user in mind helps HHCP better understand how to design for the tourist market. Knowing who the users are going to be helps HHCP create a project that is going to be financially successful for its clients. “We also make an effort to understand the project’s competition,” says Ziebarth. “By knowing what competing projects have done well and what they could have done better helps us identify opportunities for us to make our design more appropriate to that market.”
Aside from understanding its market, HHCP strives to understand its employees and what they want out of their career. Staff development and fulfillment is a major focus at HHCP. The company seeks out career-minded individuals who are looking to better themselves personally and professionally. “It’s our roles as directors of the company to build a firm by building a strong staff and creating opportunities for talented people to build long-term successful careers,” Ziebarth explains. “When someone joins HHCP they are investing their career in our company so a good way to help create happy clients is to foster happy employees.”
One method of stimulating happy staff is to present employees with imaginative design opportunities. Providing challenges that allow a designer to be unique and original is a higher priority for HHCP than the size of each job. “We do projects of all sizes but are always looking for that creative opportunity,” says Ziebarth. “We have found that this keeps our staff professionally fulfilled and creatively motivated in their career development.”
Ziebarth himself is an example of career development that HHCP looks to provide for its associates. “I’ve never worked anywhere else and I never will work anywhere else,” says Ziebarth. Having been with HHCP for his entire professional career, Ziebarth began as an unpaid intern for the company between his junior and senior year at Florida A&M University. Between his undergraduate and master’s degree, Ziebarth began working for the company on a full-time basis. In his first 10 years at HHCP Ziebarth gained experience as both a project manager and director of marketing. In 1988 he became an official partner at the company and when HHCP started HHCP Design International in 1989, Ziebarth was named president of the company.
Currently, HHCP is working on a variety of international project, one involves a 70 square kilometers national park area in China. HHCP is designing an Eco-Park Village that will include themed retail, restaurants, entertainment venues, recreation and several hotels. “The client told us that they wanted something similar to Yellowstone National Park,” Ziebarth explains. “I suggested that we don’t copy Yellowstone, but let’s learn what we can from it about how it works and how we can make it better.”
HHCP devised a parking plan to create one large strategically placed central parking and tour bus area rather than spreading all across the natural terrain multiple destination parking lots and large roads connecting them. “From the central parking people get out of their car and enter the Eco-Park Village which has a boardwalk system raised 12 feet above the ground,” Ziebarth explains. “The buildings are all built-up above the ground as well, so we’re keeping the land in a more natural condition and being very sensitive to retaining vegitation and natural slopes.”
Once visitors enter the park hub Eco Village, they are able to go to the visitor center where they can board propane-powered eco buses to transport them to one of seven outposts. “From these outposts the guests are able to choose from numerous outdoor recreation activities such as hiking, horseback riding, biking and fishing,” Ziebarth explains. “The objective of the project is to bring people into nature in the most user-friendly, environmentally sensitive, and safe way possible.”
Ziebarth sees the company remaining on its current path for many years. “A good thing about the international market, as a balance to our strong domestic side, is we go where the projects are,” says Ziebarth. “Different world markets are strong at different times and with the right expertise you can follow those markets creating meaningful designs around the world.”
Although the company’s history is strong internationally HHCP has never opened a satellite design office. “We’ve got a talented and creative design team here in Orlando, Florida,” says Ziebarth. “We keep this synergistic team together and then travel to all of the sites.”
As the company continues to develop projects domestically and abroad, HHCP Design International Inc. will continue to seek out creative design challenges to be solved by creative people.
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