Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Designing whilst taking things into account...

North Americans that visit London quite often have a similar complaint: "It's not very accessible".

Indeed, Christopher Wren didn't plan in the 1670's for hundreds of thousands of modern people larger than himself to trek regularly to the top of the dome of St Paul's Cathedral, let alone guess that we'd invent the lift/elevator, but this is something that comes down to future-proofing, which is somewhat different to planning for something that is already well known and very much anticipated on a regular basis.

This morning I entered the concourse of my local subway station. It's in a country that gets lots of cold weather, and it is prone to snow and ice being on the floor. So what choice of flooring did they choose for such an environment? Terrazzo.  Polished terrazzo at that, too.  With no drains, grills, or any other measures designed to take the slushy/ice-water off the surface.

Naturally, the if you hang around there long enough, you can witness scenes like something out of geriatric break dancing movie.  
This type of oversight annoys me. It's like the designers were not thinking of the weather...

We see this type of design oversight everywhere;  Cars and vans often have their exhaust designed to point at kids in strollers, even though the entire continent drives on the same side of the road so they could've pointed it to the middle of the road.  We know slush gathers on corners of streets, so they made sure there is no drainage there.  Electrical sockets are designed so you can't turn them off if someone is being electrocuted by an appliance.

I would ask "what were they thinking?", except it's clear they weren't thinking.