It's more than a design trend; it's a movement called Active Design, where architects find new ways to encourage movement and exercise. In Quebec's John Abbott College, Saucier + Perrotte architectes have taken stairs to new dramatic heights. It's all about mixing it up:
The central atrium space allows easy access to other levels, fostering connection, communication, and sense of community between disciplines. Movement converges at this central node of the building, which becomes an active zone throughout the day, allowing for spontaneous exchange of ideas. Exhibitions and activities take place in the foyer, permitting students and visitors to derive benefits and inspiration from cross-disciplinary ideas.
But wait, the huge atrium with the stair is does more:
To contribute to the healthiest environment possible, important factors such as indoor air quality and levels of noise are controlled. Natural light and natural ventilation play a vital role in the life of the building, being present throughout. Furthermore, as the building privileges views outward, occupants will remain in contact with the exterior campus landscape. The central atrium space allows natural air circulation as well as the exhausting of air at the roof level.
A few years ago the only way you could find a stair in a modern building was to look for the EXIT sign. Now architects are finally realizing once again how important they are as design elements, and how they can help people keep active. This is a healthy trend.
See the rest of the building at ArchDaily