23 May 2007

Door Handle’s Been Giving Me Grief


Sick Buildings

The Department of Design at Hamburg’s University of Applied Sciences is housed in two buildings: a stately old house and a 1970s add-on. The buildings are joined at the hip, siamese-twin-style, and because the floor-heights don’t match up, you have to ascend a small set of stairs when entering the newer part from a corridor of the older part.

This physical threshold is further amplified by two other characteristics which markedly change once the transition has been made: the humidity, which soars to tropical jungle levels, and door handle ergonomics, the standard of which plummets.

1. Fine. It’s a door handle.

2. Viewed from eye level: where did the lock go? Why do I have to bend at the hip or knees so as to see where to stick the key?

3. There’s no room for a human hand to turn a modest bundle of keys once I’ve located the lock. The door frame is laquered steel, so the ensuing fumbling tends to sound like a day at the scrap yard.

What am I trying to say? It’s poor design. And it’s a bit irritating. That’s all.