09 September 2008

Stairwells: A Rant

I just got back from a little jaunt around the Gorgeous Office Building (GOB) where my little department of FPU is located. I took my little jaunt in the interests of NOT taking part in the general obesity epidemic that appears to be sweeping much of the developed world - i.e., I got off my fat ass and got some exercise - and in the spirit of getting some exercise, I also took the stairs - up and down - instead of the elevator.

Well. Lemme tell ya. GOB has some seriously uninspirational stairwells.

They're narrow. They're kinda stuffy. Some walls are painted, some are not. There's carpet here, but not over there. There's graffiti in spots. Not the sort of place that makes you want to come back.

Not that this is news to me - I take the stairs all the time (well, down, anyway...), so I'm pretty familiar with their uninviting nature. And really, how much can one expect from a stairwell?

However, it occurred to me as I was out jaunting around GOB - which is so very pretty on the outside - that in light of the fact that most people who work in pretty office buildings sit on their asses (fat or otherwise) for most of the day, wouldn't it be in the interest of public health to encourage people to take the stairs so they increase the amount of exercise they're getting and decrease their personal contribution to the obesity epidemic?

The sorry state of the stairwells is not helping this cause.

Why not make the stairs a place one would actually want to be? Why not make them pretty, like the rest of the building? Why not make them interesting? Why not make them spiral or weave or soar over a pretty atrium with plants and a waterfall? Why not sprinkle them with lovely landings here and there, with trendy couches and chairs and poofs, so people will actually want to visit them? Why not make them a destination in their own right?

OK, OK - this is pie in the sky, sure, and stairwells serve other purposes, such as acting as a tornado shelter, a fact I am intimately familiar with, having spent several hours in one last spring as a very violent storm screamed by outside.... So GOBs will always have to have those interior, uninspiring stairwells.

But still.

Why not make a pretty set of stairs an option, at least?

It just might help. Ya never know.



Janet said...


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Not only are you right, my friend, you forgot to point out that the one less trip on an elevator is saving electrical use, too. Don't forget that environmental factor!

Bethanie said...

janet - Thanks! I thought so, too! (Until I read susan's comment - now THAT'S brilliant!) :-D

susan - Like I said - YOU are brilliant! I honestly hadn't even thought of that! And I call myself a tree-hugger! :-o