Three questions for… Kieran Stanley News

That was 2016. The CEO of the Experience Architecture looks back and ventures a lookout

2016 is coming to a close. How was this year for Experience Architecture?
Overall, 2016 was a good year for Experience Architecture. Since the opening in summer 2015 of Islands, an immersive environment at Chester Zoo and the largest zoo development project in the history of British zoos, we’ve observed a shift in our projects. We’re no longer focusing primarily on one major project, but have been working the past two years on several medium-sized projects. Developing a master plan, a farmstead, and a walk-in aviary at the same time makes for a highly varied work experience, but managing multiple projects is also challenging internally. We benefit from the fact that we began using innovative tools such as design thinking years ago and that we see ourselves not only as architects and designers, but also as a strategic partner. This way of thinking is projected not only outwards, but also inwards.

What were the greatest challenges and most inspiring moments?
2016 was full of highlights and openings: our Panda World at the Everland Resort in South Korea was completed in the spring, and we realized a number of projects for Tierpark Berlin that embody the slogan “Into the wild. Experience adventure”. We celebrated the opening of the Löwentor entrance at Berlin Zoo, a project that called on all of dan pearlman’s core competencies…
The Panda Exhibit we’re designing for the Berlin Zoo is a very special project. Not only is the schedule extremely tight but we’ve also had to closely coordinate a number of aspects during the design process with city agencies in Berlin as well as take into account the requirements of Chinese authorities. Construction is now underway and numerous companies are working around the clock to insure that the Panda Garden opens next summer.
I’m also particularly pleased with the recognition Islands has received. It’s generated excitement not only among visitors but also in the construction industry, as well as among designers and experts in the field of user experience. I’m happy that Islands has been honoured with two INCA Awards and a Gold Award at the Spark Awards.

What direction will things take in the New Year?
There are currently a number of major European projects in the works, and we hope to announce more details soon. Zoo architecture remains Experience Architecture’s core area of expertise and at the same time we’re seeing an increased interest in our work from other leisure segments. The demand for strategically well-conceived and themed leisure destinations is growing.
This year we began a strategic partnership with emproc, a construction management firm, in order to better manage all project work phases and to develop tailor-made strategies for tendering, contracting and construction on each project.
We are also working internally to better integrate our areas of expertise. We want to offer our clients a broad range of services – from strategy to the implemented experience.