Sunday, June 10, 2007

Fountain Roof

This is a picture of CAPE (Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics) at West Cambridge. It is the beige-coloured building. I nicked this pic from Grace's blog. In the back of the picture is the Roger Needham building (Microsoft Research) while the left side is the William Gates building (Computer Lab). My lab is located inside the CAPE building.

Grace managed to capture the fountain that we, residents of CAPE, kind of dislike. The thing that we dislike about it isn't that it's a fountain. It's because it has a frakin' roof over it! What's the deal with that? There are so many stupid design decisions made on the building that we engineers can only say, "the architect must be crazy".

Our first complaint is that there is very little space inside the building. Most of us research students had to endure a massive downgrade of facilities when we moved out from the main engineering site into our own new building. Aside from the big professors, the rest of the staff had to endure this problem as well. My supervisor is notoriously cramped in his tiny new room. There is hardly any space for anyone to sit in his room, much less talk to him. I personally lost half my desk space and a bunch of shelves when I moved in.

It isn't that the building is small. It's just that they hired some crazy architect whom must've been high on something when he/she designed this building. Outside, as you can see, there is a roof over the fountain. Why does a fountain need a roof? Plus, there's a hole in the roof. There is no conceivable reason for such an atrocity! That roof is 2 stories high and covers a space that could easily be turned into more rooms for the already space starved division. The reason that we moved out into our own building was because we had run out of room at the main site.

Right inside, we have an atrium, which is where we will find Nadia's Patisserie. It's not quite Starbucks, but you can get some cakes and some coffee from it for a similar price. The atrium is a useless piece of space. It stretches all the way from the ground floor to the roof. So, it looks very posh to an outsider. However, instead of having a glass roof, the roof is fully covered! So, why do you need such a high atrium when it's going to be fully covered? Whole 3 floors of wonderful space was wasted. It only serves to make sounds bounce around directly into the research students area.

Then, for some reason, the two halves of the building are not of the same height. One side has 3 floors while the other has 2. The two-storey roof was filled up with stones and gravel and converted into some sort of roof top space. I guess that the architect thought that we would be having parties on the roof. The building is filled with stoic engineering research students. We don't have parties! When we do have the odd celebration, it's usually done at the atrium anyway.

It's a silly design.

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