A three-year, $5 million transformation has turned the former guardhouse at The Presidio of San Francisco into the park’s new Visitor Center. The San Francisco office of WorldStage provided AV installation and support for the new center, including installation and management of custom, third-party software for several exhibits.
The Presidio is the latest high-profile project for WorldStage San Francisco, which was formed when the company acquired Tekamaki, LLC, an event technology firm specializing in complex technological solutions, last year. WorldStage now boasts an expanded presence in the Bay Area with many new hires and an increasing inventory of innovative solutions to meet a wide range of challenges and opportunities.
“WorldStage helps tell stories, and it was a great opportunity to help tell the story of the Presidio,” says Christopher Burdett, General Manager of WorldStage San Francisco. “We partnered with the National Park Service, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the Presidio Trust on interactive exhibits that thousands of visitors to the city will explore. We’re proud and excited to have been involved with such a high-profile project, first as Tekamaki and now as WorldStage San Francisco.”
The Presidio has played a special role in Burdett’s own life. He lived on the grounds for eight years when he worked for the Presidio Trust as an event technician.
The Presidio of San Francisco is a national park and former US Army military fort. It has been a fortified location since 1776 when New Spain established it; it passed in turn to Mexico and to the US in 1848. The Presidio’s transformation from military post to national park began in 1994. The US Army guardhouse that houses the new Visitor Center dates circa 1900.
The Visitor Center offers a tableau of San Francisco’s history, culture and natural heritage in two large rooms. But the visitor experience begins on the guardhouse porch, facing the parade ground, where WorldStage installed ceiling speakers for looping audio of Reveille and the sounds of marching soldiers. “That really helps to get visitors in the mood of the place,” says Burdett.
The centerpiece of the first room is an enormous 3D model map on a circular podium, designed to help visitors grasp the size and scale of the park. On the wall behind the map, the Dashboard videowall presents up-to-date visitor information in a 2×3-monitor configuration. The Dashboard also presents a four-minute looping video of the park’s sweeping vistas and natural spaces. WorldStage installed and configured the custom Dashboard app developed by Globant.
The second room features a number of historical exhibits. WorldStage installed two 84-inch MMT touchtables to form an expansive interactive surface. A focused speaker array over the touchtables provides audio. Visitors at 12 user stations simply touch one of the hundreds of moving icons to open up text and picture windows that reveal the history of an event, object or person related to the Presidio.
WorldStage liaised between Macchiato, exhibit designer for the center, and Elements Group, which built the custom software that runs the touchtables. Acting as a one-stop shop for the touchtables simplified the process for the vendors and ensured that the user interface worked according to the hardware specifications and graphic design requirements.
Four wall-like standing displays surround the touchtables featuring artifacts, text and images, a video monitor playing looping video and a touchscreen.
WorldStage provided additional audio support for the Provost Office and audio and video gear for the program area, which will be used for special events and presentations.
WorldStage set up all the displays in its warehouse prior to the install for content review by all the partners. The Visitor Center has a two-year contract with WorldStage to maintain the AV systems.
Bryan Dominick served as the Project Manager for WorldStage.