Wasted space

The building where our offices are has corridors that are nearly nine feet wide. That is almost twice as wide as the corridors in a typical modern office, which tend to be five feet across no matter what.

LE corridor
Corridor at the Livestock Exchange, Kansas City, Missouri

As a young architect, I was encouraged to think of corridors as “wasted space,” that is, as space that couldn’t be rented to or used by tenants, and therefore waste to be avoided at all costs. And in my day I designed some very efficient office buildings.

The problem is, I really like these wide corridors. They provide a value that is hard to quantify. They provide a gracious path to our front door. They allow two (or three or four) people traveling in opposite directions to pass without awkward shoulder-skewing. They allow delivery carts to traverse the halls without crashing into the walls. The fact that they have decorative tile flooring only adds to their gracious hospitality.

These extra-wide corridors have me rethinking the idea of wasted space. If they contribute to the well-being of the building’s occupants and visitors, the space isn’t really wasted, is it? Sometimes we focus on efficiency at the expense of humanity. This should change.

About David Greusel

David Greusel is founding principal of Convergence Design. He has more than 30 years' experience in the architectural profession, having worked as a designer, manager, and principal in charge of projects ranging from closet remodels to new Major League ballparks.
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