Thursday, May 21, 2015
Houston Steve demonstrates the head-cracking technology employed at a local business center. I smell lawsuit!
There’s a retail center/office complex a few of us have been frequenting these last several weeks, one which boasts a minor architectural design error. You can spot it in the photograph above if you have a sharp eye... or even if you do not.
A decorative concrete cornice runs along the outside of the building between the ground-level floor and what we here in the States would call the second story. Normally, that would not be a problem... except that there is a business on that second story, the access to which is through a door that is reached by way of an outside staircase.
That staircase - a rattletrap construction of metal risers and concrete treads that had no doubt been added as an afterthought - had been deteriorating for some time. Rust had begun eating holes in the risers; it was only a matter of time before the entire thing collapsed. So the management acted preemptively and brought in a squad of construction jocks to rebuild the stairs.
They approached the task in stages, working on the rightmost sections of the stairway while leaving the left side open to those who wished to brave the ascent. (For those too fearful or lazy to do so, an elevator was conveniently accessible.) Finally, after several weeks of seemingly slow progress, the right side was reopened for business while the left side was sealed off to be rebuilt.
Alas, there was a flaw... probably one that had been there but that we had not previously noticed. An architectural boo-boo of the sort that sometimes happens when you add a feature - an exterior staircase, say - that was not envisioned in the building’s original design. The cornice, you see, overhangs roughly a quarter of the right side of the staircase... a rude surprise to anyone who keeps to the right as they walk upstairs. I suspect that whoever designed that decorative cornice never thought that it could be decorated with splatters of blood and bits of cracked skull.
Not to worry, though. There’s a nice flat area along the outside of the cornice where the local Ambulance Chasers can affix their business cards.