20 November 2012

Take the stairs

Atmospheric CO2 is rising alarmingly! Electricity prices are rising too! Obesity is an epidemic! These modern times ask for energy efficiency and for exercise. Or rather, they should. One thing that doesn't ask for any of this is the building I'm in. Or the big glamorous building at the south end of campus. And I'm not optimistic about the new Marine building. What is it that I think they get wrong? These buildings discourage use of stairs. Which I think is silly.

How do they discourage it? The staircases are very uninviting, they are narrow, and they are tucked away in obscure corners of the building. Take for instance the staircase I use for getting to the 5th floor, where my office is; it has grey PVC flooring, grey steel railings, and undecorated, white walls. It has few windows, and it is so narrow you can only pass someone with some difficulty. This is quite characteristic for the new buildings on campus.

The staircase in "my" building: not very attractive!

The funny thing is that the building that houses the labs, which is from the 60's of 70's, is quite a different story. The staircases are wide, spacious, and light; walking through these to the 8th floor seems so much quicker than walking to the 5th in my own building. And yes there is no decoration here either, but at least you get quite a good view over the city!

The staircase in the building that contains the labs

When this building was built, CO2 levels were maybe 80ppm lower than they are now, and who knows how much lower the average English BMI was. It was good to have these staircases back then, but we really need them now! If I ever enter the newest building on campus I'll search, with fear in my heart, for the staircases. I'll report back!

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