I'm very much looking forward to start Munich concert hall as I mentioned earlier, and we're working on a big mixed use, multi-tower scheme in the center of Frankfurt. That's also a competition we are currently working on. We're always working on multiple competitions. Many buildings are under construction. It's still exciting for me to see how they evolve, like Macau’s City of Dreams, where I’ve recently joined the topping out ceremony, or Beijing Airport, one of the biggest airports in the world, and for us a new adventure.
There are a lot of interesting, fascinating challenges we hope to get involved in and we have our own internal research team which I'm expanding. I am investing more in research than we have ever done before, in a bid to remain cutting edge. We recently opened a show in our gallery which is called “meta-utopia” about exploring new fabrication possibility based on robotics with contributions from our research group as well as from invited outside contributors. We are investing a lot in developing algorithms and design intelligence related to the design integration of various engineering constraints but also in relation to new robotic fabrication technologies.
I would like to see the firm grow, to make a bigger impact, and not least to fuel the research department. I think to progress further we need to invest in research. Each time I had set another intelligent colleague free to focus on research, the result has been very rewarding. Within a few years many researches - for instance our investment into shells and tensile structures - started in the teaching arenas, migrated into small experimental structures, then into small buildings, and are now scaling up to large projects. We're full of energy and enthusiasm about developing the firm forward.
Even at ZHA we must balance the pursuit of originality with the delivery of excellency. We are now very mature and can deliver global best practice. However, we always are also looking for moments of originality, for an innovative aspect in each project.
In each project, even in well-rehearsed project types, we are looking for an element or aspect through which the project can be pointing beyond itself and become a manifesto for things to come. In large projects that can only be a certain aspects, of the project. Small projects – especially in the context of the art world – can indeed become predominantly manifesto projects. That’s why we are still keen to pick up small cultural projects, even if it’s no longer possible for us to avoid running a financial loss on such smaller projects. But such projects can be great R&D vehicles.