Tuesday, May 01, 2007
A step too far

Last weekend Quest to Build was broadcast. In it we looked at the world of the celebrity architect and their role in the designing the world about us.

Because of this show I have become hypersensitive to design and buildings around us (this always happens when I make a particular show – you immerse yourself in the subject and bingo, it suddenly becomes all consuming).

With this in mind, I was flying through Zurich (connecting to Swiss flight 015 to New York), when I visited the Swiss lounge at Zurich. I wondered “what was the architect thinking?”

Look at the picture. After you pass the front desk you are immediately confronted with a flight of steep stairs to get into the lounge.

Surely the designers must have known just about everyone entering here would have bags of one size or another? Wouldn’t you want to make access as easy as possible not akin to negotiating an obstacle course? (Yes there is a slow elevator, but most people groan at the wait, and then groan as they lug bags up the stairs).

The architect must have had a reason for putting so many steps in such a silly place of travel, but it’s not immediately clear to me.

Unless of course the answer is simpler: The architect didn’t travel very much so didn’t realize how heavy hand baggage is, or Swiss didn’t think about it.

Either is possible and both probably likely.

p.s. Since I am on about Zurich airport never say the Swiss don’t have a sense of humour. Take the subway train between terminal one and two and look closely out of the window. Pictures flash past the window. I have hardly travelled Swiss in the past five years, yet I have travelled with them several times across the Atlantic so far this year.

The reason is mainly cost, they seem to be very active in discounting in the wholesale market for their connecting flights through Zurich, plus being a Star Alliance carrier they are high on my list. I am not making any point here, just how its funny things go in phases.

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