36 Responses

  1. Jessica Derrick

    I find these to be a very interesting topic. I have never heard of the concept of ‘Active Design’ and I found it very interesting. Architecture plays such a key role that is often over looked and I think it is good that architectures and designers are playing an active role in such a social issue. However, I do not think that it is their responsibility to take on the nation’s issue of obesity and that although this is a start, people need to play their own role to have a healthy life style and not only other people getting them to do it, like the architectures building their buildings to increase activity. I think in some cases there is a limit on how effective the stairs will increase activity because it has become more common to have skyscrapers and even apartment buildings, but I think it is a very good idea for smaller buildings because I could see how more people would use them if they are convenient. I think adding the details to the stairs and making them fun to use will also increase usage. Additionally, I think it is a very good idea to provide the showers and other amenities because I feel like that could make people more likely to bike/run to work if they are close enough. I found the studies mentioned in this article very surprising; most surprising to me was the increase of stair usage by only putting up a sign. Overall, I think it will help if some of these designs are implemented, however, at the end of the day it is up to each person to decide to live a healthy lifestyle and use the additional amenities.

  2. Jessica Derrick

    I find these to be a very interesting topic. I have never heard of the concept of ‘Active Design’ and I found it very interesting. Architecture plays such a key role that is often over looked and I think it is good that architectures and designers are playing an active role in such a social issue. However, I do not think that it is their responsibility to take on the nation’s issue of obesity and that although this is a start, people need to play their own role to have a healthy life style and not only other people getting them to do it, like the architectures building their buildings to increase activity. I think in some cases there is a limit on how effective the stairs will increase activity because it has become more common to have skyscrapers and even apartment buildings, but I think it is a very good idea for smaller buildings because I could see how more people would use them if they are convenient. I think adding the details to the stairs and making them fun to use will also increase usage. Additionally, I think it is a very good idea to provide the showers and other amenities because I feel like that could make people more likely to bike/run to work if they are close enough. I found the studies mentioned in this article very surprising; most surprising to me was the increase of stair usage by only putting up a sign. Overall, I think it will help if some of these designs are implemented, however, at the end of the day it is up to each person to decide to live a healthy lifestyle and use the additional amenities.

  3. Chelsea Pushman

    Obesity and architecture? Never have I ever drawn a connection between the two. I am an athlete and I always thought of obesity as strictly poor dieting and lack of exercise. Yeah, some people might take the elevator over the stairs more often than not but never once have I heard of “active design” being influential in the fight against obesity. I never even heard of such a thing, this is a very interesting post. I did not think of this to be a way to get people to “burn calories, not electricity.” That is a genius slogan for a business by the way.

    The first building that comes to mind is a hotel. Hotels have the elevators located in the center of the structure while their stair ways are on each end. They are dark, and less appealing with plain white walls and no pictures. It totally makes sense that the structure’s design influences the chances of taking an elevator or using the stairs every day.

    I agree with the blog post about moving the stair case to the center of the room so that it looks more appealing to walk up rather than taking the elevator. Making the stairs more design friendly and decorative would definitely entice a few people to take the stairs more often.

    This idea is genius. It totally could make people get more exercise when they go to specific places with stairs/elevators. However, obesity is a huge problem and this little structural change is not going to make that much of a difference. It all comes down to the mentality of the person and having commitment to eat healthy and exercise at least three times a week.

  4. Daniel MacLeod

    I love this topic, and it is a new one. Yay! Anyways if you go on the internet you see all these funny pictures of escalators and elevators to fitness areas, and personally it just upsets me. I am physical fitness guru, I love working out and helping people get on the right track to a healthy lifestyle. So I love reading this article seeing that architects and interior designers are taking an active role to help the giant obesity problem that our country has. Now that I have read this I will constantly be thinking as I go into a building what can be done to go with “active design”. A great example of this is actually on our very own Florida Tech campus with the Olin Engineering Building. When you walk into the building through the front double doors, boom there is the staircase. You actually have to kind of search for the elevator that is set off to the right of the staircase, but that is a great example, whether it was on purpose or not. It was also a nice transition to sustainability that is just as important in this nation as obesity. It seems like the William Johnston Building is the ultimate building in America, the “active design” and then the sustainability is the ultimate combination that needs to happen in America. The cheesy line at the end by the president of Florida State was also a nice touch to end the thought of the Johnston Building.

  5. Joseph Hemler

    America has become increasingly lazy and obese in the recent years, and some of the blame is to put on the people who created the elevator and the escalator. I understand the need for an elevator on a building with 4 stories or more, but more and more these days I watch perfectly handicap-able Americans waiting to use the elevator to go up one or two floors. Personally this drives me insane inside Crawford, when I get on the elevator and have to wait for 3 people to get off at the second and third floors.
    If the only way to get from the first floor to the second or third was stairs then people would have to use them. This building is a great example of not needing mechanical help to move from one floor to the next as a human being. It is a sign of laziness not only individually but as a country. More malls and building should be constructed with stairs and ramps instead of other easier, more expensive forms of transportation. Not only are stairs better for you, but they do not break down, they don’t need maintenance, and they don’t use fossil fuels to run, just natural leg power. The stairs are much more appealing to the eye compared to a set of escalators, one for up, one for down I mean come on how lazy are we that we cant even walk down the stairs. This building is a great pioneer for the future. Of course I do think elevators are needed for people who are injured or disabled, just not for perfectly healthy people.

  6. Emily Windsor

    I really enjoyed your blog this week. I like that interior designers and architects are taking part in the help to fight obesity by “Active Design”. That’s pretty cool. That is really scary that the sedentary behavior is on the same risk factor level as smoking and can take off two years of a person’s life. I like Clay’s approach by saying putting up signs; however is this realistic that people will listen to the signs? I mean there are signs for everything lately, and half the time they are ignored. For example, in one of the offices at FIT there were about 10 signs saying “Please use other door” and people still used the wrong door. I understand how she wants to help, but I question the method and its effectiveness. I do, however, like the new Locus workstation method because the workers are forced to work in those positions that will help them stay active. I completely agree with the statement that our generation is visually stimulated so it may help if the stairways are NOT dark like in the scary movies and are like the olden days where they are front and center with beautiful lighting and design. I might take those stairways at least once a week instead of never. With the facts you have stated about Florida State University campus as being a great example of Active Design I would like to visit it and see what this actually looks like in person.

    These are all great ideas and it is a start for our generation to stop obesity, but a person also needs to be motivated enough to walk the beautiful staircase instead of taking the elevator. So, it may help some, but others might still need an extra push. I cannot wait for future designs that will come out for Active Design.

  7. Loriann DeMello

    I think this whole idea of active design is incredibly awesome. I have never heard of it before, but people have gotten so lazy it is almost ridiculous and I see a lot of money to be made in active design depending on the salesman. The “burn calories, not electricity” phrase is powerful in itself with the two trends of getting healthy and going green spreading across America. It’s about time, isn’t it? I think it is amazing how that little bit of encouragement can facilitate people in choosing the stairs. I wish that more places would center the staircase and make it more visually appealing.
    When Florida Tech Commons was built here on campus, I was confused as to why the stairs were only on both ends of the building, and I couldn’t enter the building from those ends. I found it incredibly frustrating, because I am definitely the type of person to choose the stairs. I mean, that building is only three stories, they really couldn’t have included a convenient staircase?
    I think a lot of places could use information on active design, and the concept of it could really create some jobs for struggling architects with no designing to do right now. This could definitely have an impact on our society if more building owners joined in on this idea.
    Also, I would really like to learn more on this actively designed furniture; even something as small as changing the furniture can have an impact. I think the word about this active design should be pushed to the general public – so places can start changing the way they operate.

  8. Drew Lacy

    I really love this idea. I try to take the stairs whenever possible, but so often find them to be out of the way and often downright creepy. By forcing people to go out of their way to take the healthier option, or even hiding it behind a set of doors in a dark corridor, it become so much easier just to take the elevator. In the Florida Tech parking garage, for example, I’ll take the elevator down even if I’m only on the second floor, because the stairs are poorly lit and downright creepy.

    The stairs in FSU’s Johnston Atrium look like such a natural part of the environment that it choosing to take the stairs feels like the organic option. Getting rid of snaking stairwells that often feel inefficient and even dizzying as you swirl from floor to floor, flight to flight, would really help to encourage people who would normally choose to take the elevator to proceed down a much more natural elevation solution.

    I do find it impressive that simply adding a sign that said “burn calories, not electricity” near the elevator led to a 50 percent increase in stair traffic. At the same time, I’m not surprised. I think many people forget that stairs are an option, and so it’s not until they receive a reminder (beyond the standard warning to take stairs in case of a fire) of their existence and the benefits of using them that they decide to change up their habits.

    For me, once I started regularly taking the stairs to class, I didn’t stop. Maybe if we can get other people to start, they’ll do the same.

  9. Melanie McAboy

    Now a days, there is a lot of buildings being designed or remodeled with energy efficiency in mind. It seems to be the focal point of the design teams-what they can do to make the space more sustainable. I have never heard of the term called active design. In our modern day society the rate of obesity is increasing in America and I think this idea is a positive one for Americans. I know many people tend to seek out elevators more than stairs due to their convenience. The concept of setting stairs up in a way or fashioning them aesthetically to look a way that is appealing to the public is one I have not heard of before, although it makes a lot of sense. I very odd example that I don’t believe is intended for this reason at all but comes to mind is the Science Museum in Boston has these “musical stairs”. I always took those stairs when I was visiting that museum. Maybe they would be considered active design as well?
    I like the idea you mentioned in the article about putting up a sign which would act like a certification. This way buildings would gain status for being more active just as buildings gain more status now a days for being more sustainable. My personal opinion is that if this concept spreads in popularity then there may be statistics done which I’m sure would suggest healthier occupants within the building which is deemed active. This then would become a “quality of life” issue. Occupants of active buildings would have a higher quality of life.

  10. David Scott

    I find the idea of Active Design very interesting. I would have never thought of making a connection between building and interior design, with human health and physical activity. The example given with the movie Wall-E is a perfect match for this connection because the people in that movie are being deprived of physical activity based on the design of their surroundings. Even the idea of just increasing people’s daily physical activity and integrating it into building design is genius. Mixing this genius idea and including it into a university campus is even more impressive due to the fact that teens are becoming lazier due to the popularity and innovations of technology. Bringing old staircase designs to the interior design of buildings with pros towards aesthetics and ergonomics surrounding physical activity levels with LEED certification make the engineers and designers of the Florida State University building seem like exemplary candidates for an award. LEED certification is considered a big deal when it concerns architecture and I feel that Florida State University is lucky to have a building like that on their campus. Florida Tech should consider implementing some of this into their buildings so students could be even more active than they are with their daily activities. The new Locus workstation also sounds like another active design concept that would be perfect for students at Florida Tech to keep concentration levels high and encourage good posture without slumping in a chair. The same way Florida State University got recognized for their active design integrations, we could have the same exposure at FIT.

  11. Brandon

    I found this to be a very interesting topic. Active design is something I have never heard of before and it is actually something that plays a role in todays obesity problem. It is definitly common knowledge to everyone that as time goes on and more and more technology is developed that people are becoming less and less active. It is unfortunate but thats how the world works unfortunately. Engineers and inventors of our time understand that in order to create something that will be successful, it has to be something that makes everyones life easier. For example, people went from at one point walking, to using horses, to having cars, bicycles, etc. While the horse is not an invention, these other things are and they became successful because of the convenience it serves to the people. When it comes to active design and architecture of a building, I wouldn’t say that it is the designers problem to solve the obesity problem but they can certainly help by creating staircases that look appealing to the eye. I am currently looking into houses to buy after school and I’ve noticed that the higher priced houses have staircases that stand out way more than lower priced houses. They seem to be located directly in front of the door more often than to the side and they also possibly depending on design of the house will split and go two different directions at the top. The is a lot more welcoming to the eye as opposed to walking into a colonial style house whose staircase most always is positioned in the front off to the side and as a narrow space. more like a tunnel. This i believe is a big part of what could turn someone off of taking the stairs as opposed to the elevator. staircases need to be out in the open where someone does not have to feel restricted as to spacing. Also, another thing architects could do to try and solve the problem would be to put the elevators or escalators in areas that are not as convenient. So maybe a staircase in front and and elevator farther away would be convincing enough to make people use staircases in stead. another thing i was looking up on a website is design of the stairs. you can have anything from spiral, straight, winder, half landing, quarter landing, and other types of stairs and they all will subconsciously make a difference in someones mind on whether or not they would use it. All in all i don’t believe it should be the architects main focus but it definitely is a very interesting idea to see how one design may get a lot of people to use elevators while similar designs may have a lot of people who use stairs strictly based off of position and type. Great post

  12. Abdulaziz Al Qahtani

    I really think this topic “active design” it’s amazing how you can compare obesity and architecture. It’s also ridiculous how lazy and unhealthy people tend to be nowadays. . The phrase “burn calories, not electricity” it has so much meaning behind it, you can be healthy and go green at the same time. It’s about time we have something like this in America because people tend to go the easy and lazy route. In Florida tech buildings there is more stairs then elevators. I personally take the stairs to class because it’s less crowded on the stairs then in the elevator, it’s also quicker. But when I have extra time before class and I’m not in a hurry I usually take the elevator to kill time.
    I think a lot of places should use this information on active design, and the concept of it could really creative and smart. This could definitely have a huge impact on our society if more building owners knew about this idea. I know most of the new buildings and fashion industries don’t have elevators that’s in there building that’s why everyone there is so fit and healthy. Of course I do think elevators are important for people who are injured or disabled, or just not for perfectly healthy people. But it certainly an amazing idea.

  13. Josh Urso Design

    Now that we’re getting the hang of going green, why not go slim? We hope this emerging trend is here to stay.

    In regards to the grand staircase of yore, we’ve never been tempted to find the elevator in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We race up those stairs like Rocky every single time.

  14. Amber Maiwald

    There were many great points brought up in this blog. The first one was about WALL-E, one of my favorite movies. The Axiom was initially built with active design in mind. It has a huge swimming pool, an indoor track, virtual golfing, etc. But with the implementation of the moving chairs, the population got lazy and didn’t want to get out of the chairs so they became obese. This is what is going on today with the extensive utilization of cars and other forms of “easy” transportation such as escalators and elevators. I think that putting up flashy, colorful signs next to stair cases with fun facts like, “ taking the stairs just once burns this many calories” or “taking the stairs only twice a day for five times a week burns this many calories.” This will tremendously increase the usage of stairs in buildings.

    Another great point is for designers and architects to put the stairs where people can see them. In many buildings such as the Florida Tech Commons, the stairs are hidden from the normal viewing area, but the elevators aren’t. I know that it took me at least two months to find the stairs in the Florida Tech Commons building because a) they are hidden b) you can only access them from one direction on the first floor and c) there are no signs that say stairs this way. This is was major design flaw for this building.

    The last good point was if civil engineers design roads with bike paths and construct new, appealing sidewalks that actually connect to one another and that are available through the entire roadway, people would be more apt to use them.

  15. Giovana Soares

    I didn’t know that there is a term that describes architects combating obesity. That’s really nice. I always try to take the stairs everywhere I go, especially because I know it takes just as long as waiting for an elevator, if not less! In my school, however, they just built an enormous building (Florida Tech Commons); probably a great mix between modern and traditional… The building has three floors, which many people would take the stairs to walk three floors up, but in the main entrance/lobby they only included the elevator (which is very slow, by the way), and absolutely NO signs indicating where the stairs are. It’s unfortunate that architects missed such an important factor. And not even that, but what about in case of fire? It should be second nature for people to spot stairs. It does have EXIT signs on the above floors leading to the stairs, but maybe people don’t see them.

    I just read the LEED categories of rating and I just realized that they might want to add an extra couple points for Active Design. Here are how the points are distributed:

    100 possible base points distributed across five major credit categories:
    Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality.
    Plus an additional 6 points for Innovation in Design
    And additional 4 points for Regional Priority.
    **(Possible) 2 points for Active design**

    Right now they focus more on the green aspect, but they should take into consideration that the more people do the work by going up/down the stairs, the less energy from the building they will be using – and commercial buildings are one of the biggest contributors of emissions.

    By the way, love the post – my favorite so far!

  16. Jessica Hook

    I never thought that obesity would ever be considered when it came to the design of a building. It does make sense to start solving America’s problem by starting from the beginning by almost tricking people into choosing the more active approach.

    When someone is waiting for the elevator and sees a sign that says burn calories not electricity, it almost makes someone feel bad or almost embarrassed for taking the elevator up and not the stairs. Hiding the elevator is a great idea when designing a building with obesity in mind. This way people will think that the stairs are the only way up. Also people who actually need to use the elevator will always be pointed in the right direction.

    Having a beautiful well-designed stair way is more welcoming than one that is hidden. The more welcoming that the stairs are, the more likely that people are going to stairs versus the lift. In hotels it is very common for the building to only have stairs hidden on the sides of the building behind doors. The main purpose of these stairs is for emergency use. This means that the stairs are not very pretty and sometimes not very clean. Having the stairs hidden in this way encourages people to take the elevator to the second floor, which is very ridiculous because it takes more time to take the elevator rather than the stairs.

    The main reason in my opinion, to use an elevator for only a couple floors is if you are hurt or going to a very important meeting where you don’t not want to get your heart rate up for it.

  17. Antwan Mingo

    Although not a local historical building, the large, sweeping staircase at the very front of the main entrance to Eastern Florida State College in Cocoa keeps to the initiatives of Active Design. It invites you to climb the stairs to success, and get an elevated view of the campus with its glass enclosure, whereas elevator riders are limited to the back of the building and are treated to a very restricted view.
    In addition to the national obesity epidemic, Florida should also be concerned with its ever-increasing elderly population. According to census.gov, the proportion of Florida’s elderly population is expected to increase from 18.6% to 26.3% by 2025. Older Floridians face such issues as the rising costs of health care and the ability to age safely and comfortably in one’s own community. The concepts of Active Design could be beneficial to planning for our aging citizens. Florida’s community planning associations and land developers are beginning to utilize designs that will accommodate the needs of older Floridians, as well as facilitate active, healthy lifestyles for all citizens.
    The Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association states “the design choices we make in our homes, schools, workplaces, communities, and transportation systems can have major, long lasting effects on health.” The idea of Active Design could encourage the preservation of our historic buildings and landscapes, while encouraging our sense of civic pride and the future well-being of our aging citizens. It is wonderful to see the “active design” philosophy being implemented in our community, while preserving historical interiors and infrastructures as in the William Johnston Building on the Florida State University campus!
    http://www.census.gov/population/projections/files/stateproj/9525rank/flprsrel.txt
    http://www.floridaplanning.org/sustainability-homepage/healthy-by-design/

  18. Doreen Muller

    This is an intriguing post! I decided to go back to school and get my AS degree in interior design because I love the idea of creating a space that is not only visually appealing, but enticing as well. I lead a very active lifestyle. I enjoy running, weigh training, and I recently discovered Krav Maga, which is a self-defense class that I attended two nights a week. I was a personal trainer before I decided to go back to school because I love to encourage people to lead a similar active lifestyle, one that I have been doing for years now and reek the same long term benefits.

    Physical activity has clearly been proven time and time again to be beneficial in combating obesity. I agree with this post, the Disney movie Wall-E is an excellent example of “sitting disease”. I have never heard of “sitting disease” before this post, but wow, the fact that sedentary behavior is on the same level as smoking as a risk factor is astonishing!

    Obviously, taking the stairs as opposed to the elevator is a healthier choice. In fact in my opinion, unless you have a handicap, are injured, or have a stroller, it is ridiculous to take an elevator. Sometimes people need a little reminder to make that choice. If making the stairways more visually and aesthetically appealing or including signage encourages people to do that, I say go for it! If I can take an active role in “Active Design” as a designer, I say sign me up!

  19. amna murshed

    First of all I would like to say that “active design” is an incredible step/ movement towards a healthy lifestyle and staying fit.
    I totally agree with what you said, stairwells should not be in the dark and shouldn’t be boring. Making stairwells more visually and aesthetically appealing actually encourages people to use stairwells instead of using escalators or elevators. Because of how dangerous “sitting disease ” can be, “Active Design” should be applied in public places more. I love how old historic buildings have many stairwells; they are both architecturally and aesthetically astonishing. Also, they used to have more than one stairwell throughout the residence.
    The interior design of The William Johnston Building at the Florida State University campus is “Active design”.
    It is surprising to that a building that was almost built 100 years ago is not only still standing but also a college department for Visual Arts, Theater and Dance, the College of Human Sciences, College of Communication and Information and the Division of Undergraduate Studies. In addition to that lets not forget that its LEED certified, Gold!!! How cool is that!!
    I wish that I could visit this college just to go on the stairwells, and never leave, because of the spacious area and how relaxing the lounge looks in the image.
    Studying interior design has taught me so much, not just to design rooms and empty spaces, more importantly to create a space that will send a positive vibe, or like “active design” to encourage people to be healthy and fit.

  20. Brittany Loper

    I really enjoy the term you used, “active design”. I have heard of this being similarly used in the metro systems of bigger cities. Individuals must perform a series of squats and can get a free metro ticket. Similarly, in the aspect of sustainability, which all historic preservation inadvertently is, there is another way to receive a free ticket on the metro – by discarding your used recyclables into a container next to the ticket booth. Back to active design – it is always important to include physical activity in your every day lives. The concept of creating environments that encourage physical activity slightly blows my mind. There are so many different aspects of design that we are able to hone in on when we find our niche, and active design is an interesting specimen. I really enjoyed the comment Clay (member ASID) said about making stairs more appealing by making them beautiful, interestingly shaped, or out in the open. There is always a way to dissect something further, dive into the concept deeper, and come out on the other side knowing more about that specific area, and that is what interior designers do. They think about things differently and provide answers to problems in ways that no other people could think of. Incorporating daily reminders, such as the common “Burn calories, not electricity” seem to help engage individuals to make better choices. That really is what it is all about – making better, small choices to aid in your own personal future.

  21. Veronica Tarducci

    I find it encouraging as a student that interior designers have the opportunity to promote exercise in the redesigning of interiors of old historic buildings, while accommodating the needs of people utilizing the space and complying with the codes that must be followed. It makes sense that a stairway at the entrance of a building will entice people to walk them, rather than to seek out an elevator, especially when the design is eye catching. I understand that we live in a time where “time is money,” so it also makes sense that we have grown so accustomed to having elevators at the front and center of many modern day multi-leveled commercial business’ entrance’s. However, designers have become increasingly aware of the effects that this is having on our countries obesity rate, and have interestingly enough turned back to designing entrances with staircases that are the immediate focal point for people entering the space. I also think that using rhetorical appeal in signage is a fantastic way to help promote a healthy lifestyle for people, as was done with the sign that states, “burn calories, not electricity.” This is a great way to convince people to modify their usual routines (which made be seen as time saving), and start incorporating more physical activity into their everyday routines. What is really fascinating to me is the fact that designers can essentially kill two birds with one stone in this regard. Not only are people being convinced to partake an a more active lifestyle, but they are also conserving energy in doing so.

  22. Sabian Salkey

    I actually found this article very interesting. As I was reading through most of these articles I didn’t really find too much interest in any of them until I started reading this one. I personally love to exercise and to just be active in general, and I also like to make things. So when I read this article and read that architects and interior designers can design buildings or even streets that would promote being active, my mind immediately started to think of ways where I could design a building that would promote daily activity. I’m currently studying to be a landscape architecture so this would be an ideal skill for me to acquire. Especially because obesity is becoming a widespread problem around the US. I found it fascinating that the simple placement of a sign encouraged more people to take the stairs instead of the elevator. And never thought that the simple idea of making stairs looks more appealing, by brightening up the surrounds of the stairs or applying some kind of design or concept, would actual encourage people to take them. I know it would encourage me to take the stairs more, even though I already take the stairs everywhere.

  23. Sarah Blackburn

    Although I have never heard of this particular method of design, Active design sounds like a good method for future architecture. I personally have never put the two ideas together, architectural design and the proactive approach to obesity. Active Design is a fantastic new method, that I think, in the right action will hopefully become a more prevalent system of design in the future. My only concern would be maintaining the balance between option availability and psychological suggestion. It would be unfortunate if changes went overboard and the quiet suggestion turns a work environment inaccessible or unproductive. I’m not sure if I am imagining the desk improperly, but working at a desk all day somewhere between sitting and standing, but never quite on or the other, sounds like I would never get anything done. I think the key in this is balance. The convince of choice hopefully will not only be for those who already exercise, but also make exercise easier for those who want to, but can’t set aside time in a busy schedule. Maybe taking the stairs or walking from a farther parking spot can help someone start seeing change in themselves enough to make time to go to the gym or even just walk every day. While I do not think that it should be the sole responsibility of building designers to make decisions for the users where it pertains to the utilization of the building, I like the idea of making life a little healthier and easier for all.

  24. Sarah Blackburn

    Although I have never heard of this particular method of design, active design sounds like a good method for future architecture. I personally have never put the two ideas together, architectural design and the proactive approach to obesity. Active Design is a fantastic new method, that I think, in the right action will hopefully become a more prevalent system of design in the future. My only concern would be maintaining the balance between option availability and psychological suggestion. It would be unfortunate if changes went overboard and the quiet suggestion turns a work environment inaccessible or unproductive. I’m not sure if I am imagining the desk improperly, but working at a desk all day somewhere between sitting and standing, but never quite on or the other, sounds like I would never get anything done. I think the key in this is balance. The convince of choice hopefully will not only be for those who already exercise, but also make exercise easier for those who want to, but can’t set aside time in a busy schedule. Maybe taking the stairs or walking from a farther parking spot can help someone start seeing change in themselves enough to make time to go to the gym or even just walk every day. While I do not think that it should be the sole responsibility of building designers to make decisions for the users where it pertains to the utilization of the building, I like the idea of making life a little healthier and easier for all.

  25. Bradley Hoe

    I had never heard of active design before reading this article. It is fascinating to see how interior design can be used to improve someone’s physical well being. I will admit to living a sedentary lifestyle. As an interior design student I find myself sitting at a desk for hours on end without the thought of getting up and moving around. It was not until recently that I began realizing the physical problems that come with this type of lifestyle. After reading this article it reinforces what I already know about the so-called “sitting disease”. If you don’t get up and move around on a regular basis your physical health can easily deteriorate. The solution to this problem is easier than I thought. I can’t believe that something as insignificant as a sign located next to an elevator that states, “burn calories, not electricity” could increase stair use by fifty percent. It just shows that it doesn’t take much to get people up and moving. However, the hard part is keeping them moving. Taking the stairs is great but if you take the stairs then sit at your desk for eight hours it does not do you any good. Martin Keen’s Locus Workstation is a great solution to that problem. I have heard about standing desks before but never a desk that encourages sitting and standing. It is great to see the different ways that interior design is addressing the “sitting disease”. We don’t want to end up like the humans in Wall-E now do we.

  26. Danielle Elkins

    Although the term “active design” is new to me, the concept makes complete sense. When making the decision to go back to school I was torn between nutrition and interior design as my area of study. I have always had a love of design but also feel a strong pull to make a difference in the health and wellness of people in non-conventional ways. This article and learning that there is an actual genre of design geared specifically towards helping people get healthier is just so inspiring! To think that I could actually combine both of my passions into one- creating beautiful and inspiring spaces that also encourage an active and healthy lifestyle. I love the idea of focusing on how our buildings and communities not just look and function, but also how they encourage the actual ways that people move. It seems like such a new concept but makes such perfect sense that it creates one of those “why didn’t we think of this sooner” thoughts. I think our society has been so “technology” focused (perhaps too much so) and it is refreshing that there is a movement towards moving our own bodies more. It will be neat to see where this aspect of design goes in the future- what new ideas and concepts with be thought up to encourage activity by building and community design. One area that comes to mind (and it is such a simple concept its almost silly) is the drive down A1A in the Floridana area south of Melbourne Beach; there are miles and miles of expansive sidewalks. In theory it is just a sidewalk, but it is a nice wide sidewalk that is far enough away from the road to “feel safe” and bordered by trees and plants. Every time I drive through that area, no matter what time of day, the sidewalk is full of people walking, running, and riding bikes- it is just such an inviting spot for a casual stroll or vigorous run, that it seems to draw people outside to it.

  27. Chelsea Patrick

    This is a topic I have heard about before but have never been given such great examples. I think that this concept is extremely important in our society today. Like the article stated, obesity is an issue and one that is hard to overcome with multiple factors like the media and the amount of fast food restaurants on a single block. This article reminds me of the power an interior designer has on his or her surroundings. As designers we have the ability to change people’s ways of thinking, their habits, and sometimes, even their interest. What amazes me most about active design is the abundance of possibility. Although I think that steering away from escalators and leaning towards staircases is an obvious step in the right direction, I also agree with the article when it called on the different signs next to escalators, informing patrons of an actual statistic that is tangible. If every designer was conscious of designing actively then maybe the norm of interior public spaces would be promoting activity and movement. Obese people can hardly move around, making them less likely to be able to enjoy a space in it’s entirety. What’s the point of designing if people aren’t able to fully appreciate it? My point is that active design should be a standard in all aspects of design. To design for people to move around and enjoy the space you have created. I enjoyed this article very much and see active design in a different and more important light now.

  28. Tanya Flynn

    This is such a great idea to help people keep in shape and stay healthier with today’s lifestyle of what is easiest and more convenient and designers and architects have spent past decades trying to design the automated houses with their electrical and lighting plans, that I think were designed originally for the laziness of the average individual and not so much for energy conservation that it is designed for today. The Clapper is a main example of how lazy as a society we really are, that we can’t even get up and turn the lights and appliances on and off, although great for the handicapped and elderly, terrible for the lazy person, such as me. I don’t know if this “Active Design” would make me any less lazier than I already am but it is definitely worth a shot. I think the sign that states “ burn calories, not electricity” is a great motivational sign, kind of like the picture of yourself on the cookie jar. I love all the architectural detail of this building with the intricate moldings and tile work and the beautiful brickwork on the exterior. However with that said, the inside does not keep in design with the exterior, with the clean streamlined look of the present it is totally opposite of keeping in the “norm” of that particular architecture. I think the stairs would have been awesome in a more cathedral type stairway, with maybe some brick accent details, with the same beautiful moldings used on the exterior of the building and wrought iron railings with a more arched window atrium. I know they wanted to go green and distinguish the old from the new, but maybe they went too far as to lose some of the architectural integrity.
    This website, http://www.paperhouses.co/blog/entry/architecture-in-film-bad-guys-live-in-radical-homes has a picture, third one down, of a staircase on it that I think would be magnificent in this building, of course designed for its current usage and would definitely make me want to check out that staircase.

  29. Jennifer Scites

    I am thrilled to see that active design is becoming such an important topic in the design community. I find it exciting that given the obesity rate in both adults and children so high, we are finally trying new methods to try to combat the issue. To incorporate interior designers and architects ideas into the design of a space to help combat obesity is genius. It definitely has to start somewhere. These days more and more buildings, whether it be a hotel, a school, or an office space, they are being designed or remodeled with the thought of energy efficiency. Sustainability is a broad topic in most new spaces. Before I left Harris, I was working on the design for their new building. We were going for LEED Gold. Our design concepts were all about openness, bringing nature in, through the use of an all glass building. Though the elevators were the first thing you will see when you walk into the building, to the right is an amazing staircase, giving you both options. Ultimately it is the end users decision to be more health cautious. Another way Harris was trying to have an active design-type environment was through the use of walking stations. They are treadmills that go slow and you can dock your laptops right on them. Every cube in the new building will be equipped with a sit-stand table. To me, this is so important to the health of the employee. It will help the “sitting disease” issue of people sitting too long. When my son and I go on cruises we challenge ourselves to never take the elevator, no matter what floor we are placed on. I love it and we have more time to do activities because we are not spending all that time waiting on the elevator. I truly hope that active design is here to stay; it is important to the health of our nation.

  30. Kara Vonada

    The topic of Actively Redesigning Historic Structures is very interesting. It’s not something that you would necessarily think of when designing a space. Growing up in Northern Florida, I have been to Florida State University more times than I can even remember. I always thought that the university did a great job preserving the historic buildings on its campus. The William Johnson Building is one that has had a huge turn around in terms of transformation and preservation. The architect and designers who worked on this building were extremely smart in the fact that they “preserved the salt glazed tile wainscoting in the foyer of the first floor lobby, wood ceiling beams, and hand painted cork ceiling tiles.” (Lesa Lorusso) Being a active college student, I have seen the many stages of college life. From the couch potatoes, party animals, and tired studious type. The idea of keeping staircases and encouraging movement throughout the school and work day, is a pretty obvious fix. I really liked what Lesa said about the design firm who is bringing in seating/standing options for people in the workplace. This is a genius idea, having options that don’t restrain you to a chair all day is something I would really love to have at my work place. Active Design is something that designers should try to incorporate into their designs as often as possible. I think where it gets a little complicated is when you have to bring in elevators, ramps, etc. You have to have ways for handicapped people to get around the buildings as well, but my question would be how do you direct everyone else to choose the more active route? Overall I really enjoyed this article, and I like that I could relate to the post because of my knowledge of the Florida State University Campus.

  31. Jeanne Diehl-Shaffer

    Jennifer, I love the fact that Harris is finally updating the Palm Bay facilities. The walking station is a wonderful idea. They just need to have all of these exercise machines creating energy for the buildings.

  32. Tiffiny Ruehman

    Now this is where interior designers can truly flex their muscles. I believe in “Active Design” because I see it in myself that I don’t have time to exercise as I would like to. I totally agree with making stairways the focal point of a building and also the sign “Burn calories, not electricity”. Some people may find it offensive but I think it would remind me that by taking the stairs, I will get some work out time (especially going up the stairs).
    I also whole heartedly believe that stairways should be “visually and aesthetically appealing”. For an example, most of the outer stairways at our Melbourne campus have cement stairs that are cracking badly and are very poorly lit at night. Because of this, one night after class I almost felldown the stairs from not seeing a huge chip which my heel had gotten stuck in. Not a fun experience. With technology and new materials being produced there is an abundance of design potential. Take 3Form for instance, there are so many different designs that would go perfectly for an opaque or translucent designed stairway. Some materials can have interesting and playful lighting added to capture the traffic that it is intended for. Of course, with any design, context and function is the most important. You wouldn’t want to create a beautiful staircase like the one from Gone with the Wind in a building that was supposed to be Art Deco.
    I’m sure that as our imaginations and technology grows, we will find more ways to incorporate “Active Design” into our lives. I’m very excited to see what our future minds can come up with in this area.

  33. Jennifer Garcia

    This is a great idea, I found this article very informative. I never realized how much interior designers really do influence the activity inside of a building of people, but it completely makes sense. With children and adult obesity growing in America I think more Interior designers should follow this movement. The escalators should be a thing of the 20th century not part of our future, it only creates to more laziness and obese people in this country. We should glorified the stairs and put them in the middle instead of an elevator or escalator for encouragement. I know many places were the escalators or elevator are front and center while the stairs are literally on the side of the building and it’s dark, behind doors, and of course nobody uses them. Older building that once did not house the modern technology do play a great role and are beautiful examples of this movement with their staircases not only front and center encouraging for the people. But they are almost always designed to stand out. The idea of adding amenities for people to be encourage to be active is great because it simplifies life. You don’t want to ride your bike to work and be sweaty all day, but you would ride your bike to work if you could shower and be fresh at work. Its little changes like that, that really make a difference for our society that encourages them for a good change, escalators is not one of them.

  34. Michelle Musick

    really enjoy the term you used, “active design”. I have heard of this being similarly used in the metro systems of bigger cities. Individuals must perform a series of squats and can get a free metro ticket. Similarly, in the aspect of sustainability, which all historic preservation inadvertently is, there is another way to receive a free ticket on the metro – by discarding your used recyclables into a container next to the ticket booth. Back to active design – it is always important to include physical activity in your every day lives. The concept of creating environments that encourage physical activity slightly blows my mind. There are so many different aspects of design that we are able to hone in on when we find our niche, and active design is an interesting specimen. Older buildings that once did not house the modern technology do play a great role and are beautiful examples of this movement with their staircases not only front and center encouraging for the people. But they are almost always designed to stand out. The idea of adding amenities for people to be encourage to be active is great because it simplifies life. You don’t want to ride your bike to work and be sweaty all day, but you would ride your bike to work if you could shower and be fresh at work. Its little changes like that, that really make a difference for our society that encourages them for a good change, escalators is not one of them.

  35. Elizabeth Kiser

    I think that it is great, but also pointless, that architects and business owners are looking at ways to stylishly redesign buildings that will allow for a healthier fitness level of employees and customers. This world is too busy trying to find the easiest way to do something, and I don’t see that being anything but excelling its progress in the future. I understand that we have buildings that are more than 50 stories in the air, and I understand that buildings have to have ADA compliance, but what about the person that should be walking the stairs but can’t get up two flights because they are out of shape? When trying our fitness level, those that are obese or overweight or want to lose weight to fit in that two piece bikini for summer, look for the easiest way to obtain that, which often means diet pills. The problem arises on the person that doesn’t want to work out or obtain that fitness level with exercise and controlling what they eat. If people stopped to think that instead of taking the elevator to the 3rd floor, they should use the stairs, maybe we wouldn’t have the problem of shortness of breath, or the “I’m out of shape” comments. If the person decided that fixing a lunch at home to bring to work was better than fast food restaurant, then maybe the pants that are just a little too tight might get a little too loose.
    I do think that redesigning a building for better interior design would be better because you could bring out an art deco modern tone with furniture and other items that might be needed. It will also bring more life to the building.

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