Build it and they will come… This is the usual mantra. Forward Associates take a different approach. They consider the business case first. This way they build it right.

Their approach is to start with the guest, as Roy Westwood, founder of Forward Associates explains:

“As the experience economy has taken hold, the needs of the guest takes on ever greater importance. And while most projects inevitably consider the architecture, engineering, acoustics, crowd flow and design, very few consider, or truly embrace the guest experience. Ultimately, it’s about design and build, but never about the lived experience.”

Rather than assume the design process will figure it out, Forward Associates look at things differently. Before any architect is commissioned, they model the numbers. There’s is a business-led approach, not a design-led one.

“How do you go about drawing something when you don’t know exactly what you are supposed to be drawing? asks Roy. “Yet this is the way most modern stadia are built. Start with a drawing and only later consider how the resulting spaces will be used, let alone pay for themselves.”

A stadium designed with the end user in mind can realise the full extent of the opportunity. Their approach allows the architect to focus on their primary aim – to deliver a visionary monument – while Forward Associates are free to build the strategic business case for every space and concept within the venue.

“The business model comes first and defines the design of the stadium, not the other way round. After all, the aim is to design a building that operates flawlessly and is able to fully commercialise the guest experience. We do not believe this should ever be consigned to an afterthought.”