Photojournalists document Australia's converted Pizza Hut restaurants

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One of the many Pizza Huts in disguise located across the globe.
One of the many Pizza Huts in disguise located across the globe. Photo: Ho Hai Tran

Remember when every suburb had a dine-in Pizza Hut restaurant? The ones with an instantly-recognisable roof that symbolised deep-pan crusts, all-you-can-eat jelly and hand-puppets from The Land Before Time?

Sydney-based photojournalists Ho Hai Tran and Chloe Cahill do, and the pair are on a mission to document the world's repurposed Pizza Huts in all their glory.

Tran and Cahill launched a Kickstarter project this month to release a hardcover book titled Pizza Hunt that collects all the photos from the quest. Its $20,000 crowd-funding target was reached in just 20 days.

A Pizza Hut goes deep (pan) undercover.
A Pizza Hut goes deep (pan) undercover. Photo: Ho Hai Tran

"We're thrilled to have reached the target because we wouldn't be able to make the book without crowd funding," says Cahill. "We have always envisioned this project as a book because we feel that the sheer volume and variance of the Huts we have captured can be truly appreciated when they are viewed en masse."

Cahill and Tran have been collaborating together since 2010. They had the idea for Pizza Hunt when working on a photography project with the Pigeon Fancier Society at Fairfield that involved a lot of driving around western Sydney.

"We kept driving past the Salvation Army store in Liverpool and we would always laugh because the whole shape of the building was a Pizza Hut, says Tran. "Nothing had changed, it was just painted and disguised. We started thinking 'how many of these are in Sydney?' and it turns out there was quite a few."

If it looks like a Pizza Hut...
If it looks like a Pizza Hut... Photo: Ho Hai Tran

Thousands of Pizza Huts were erected around the world in 1970s, 80s and 90s. The fast-food economy has changed though, and most have been converted into gospel churches, pool shops, grocery stores, tax offices and even the odd funeral home.

It didn't take long for Tran and Cahill to find themselves snapping repurposed Super Supreme shacks across Australia, New Zealand and the US.

"Heading to the States was incredible," says Cahill. "It's the home of these buildings. Fast-food architecture is so prolific over there but for some reason the Huts have a special allure – more than any of the other big franchises lining the highway. And that allure's retained when they're converted."

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Tran says his favourite converted Hut is Olsens Funerals in Revesby. "It's pretty incredible," he laughs. "It's got this peach-coloured paint scheme going on and the fact that a Pizza Hut is having a second life as a funeral home is just amazing."

"My favourite is in Victoria," says Cahill. "It's a pool shop in Ferntree Gully and they've actually put it on stilts, shifted the whole building to turn it around and created a carpark underneath. Even then it still looks like a Pizza Hut."

Hut-fans can still visit the Kickstarter site and pledge money towards the project (which has a new "stretch goal" of $25,000). Rewards for pledging include limited editon prints, a collector's version of the book delivered in a clamshell pizza-box and tickets to a Pizza Hunt exhibition to be held in Sydney.

There are even Pizza Huts that have been converted into gospel churches.
There are even Pizza Huts that have been converted into gospel churches. Photo: Ho Hai Tran

All of the money raised from the Kickstarter will go towards the design, materials, printing, production and distribution of the book.