Theme Park Guru Kevin Barbee shares the fun and challenges of working in Entertainment Design
March 15, 2018
Was thrilled to be invited to Singapore's largest architecture firm, DP Architects, to speak on my experience as an architect. Was even more thrilled when the room filled up with architects and engineers from across DP's broad spectrum of professional services--after 5pm on a Friday night!
While my career started in architecture with the fantastic (Jon) Jerde Partnership in Los Angeles and later with the juggernaut RTKL (now CRTKL), I always thought of myself as an outcast in architecture. Having gained, in my "formative years," a very strong foundation in Master Planning, Mixed-Use, and Retail Design, I took a leap and landed in Theme Park design. Thirty years later I had enough content for 150 slides on two topics, "Entertainment Design: Using Emotion" & "Theme Park Design Success Rules." Both contain parallel design principles I thought might be useful at the micro and macro scale for architectural designs, indoors and out.
You would think after 150 slides, people would be ready to bolt to the plentiful bars and restaurants in South Beach and the adjacent Marina Bay area, but no, I was asked lots of challenging questions on safety, specialization, and even my favorite theme park! But what was best was seeing a group that was interested in ideas, new ways of looking at things, helping them to understand how their skills were truly "cross-platform," and selfishly, getting energized by their kind attention and interest.
Oh yeah, and the cool caricature!
Don't hold back. Share what you've learned.
Thanks to DP Architects and especially David Liauw for the opportunity to share a little fun.
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