Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cubist Days

The building I spend my days working in is a 1,716,500 square foot, postmodern, modular, concrete structure.

The basic element of its design is the cube, which is most obvious when you look up at the fire-escape route schematics and see how the building is one cube abutted by another cube abutted by another cube and so on and so on.

When you are busy working it is not immediately clear that you are in a cube because all of the cubes have been endlessly subdivided. There is a main set of four hallways on each level and these four hallways form a perfect square linking all the cubes. Whatever square or rectangular room you happen to be in was reached through one of a seemingly endless series of identical corridors. It's hard to remember that you are in a box inside a cube inside another cube. It's both cubist and labyrinthine.

The building uses colour as one of the main orienting systems and you can tell where you are by the colour of your door: red section, blue section, yellow section, purple section.

There are also courtyards interspersed through out the building but we aren't allowed to use them - all the doors are locked and the courtyards are empty except for old concrete paving stones - but if you go up to one of the big courtyard windows, press your cheek against the glass and look up, you can see a small square of the sky.

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