Stairs are a critical part of Active Design;studies have shown that just two minutes of stair climbing a day – rather than using an elevator – can help prevent annual weight gain. But most of the time, stairs are hidden away at the ends of buildings and used for fire exits only. More and more companies and designers are realizing that if you want people to take the stairs, you have to make them worth taking, a significant feature in the design of the building. This one in Australia certainly puts the stairs up front and center.
Medibank, Australia's largest health insurer knows that active people are healthier people, and have built their new head offices to promote activity and movement. The architects, HASSELL claim that it is "hardwired for health." It is designed according to principles of Activity Based Working and Health Based Working: lots of movement, great air quality and flexibility.
Medibank employees have real freedom to choose how and where they work. With laptops and mobile phones in hand, Medibank’s people can now select from more than 26 types of work settings, ranging from indoor quiet spaces and collaborative hubs to wifi-enabled balconies and places to stand and work. Circadian lighting in certain areas of the workspace mimics natural daylight patterns supporting people’s biorhythms.
There is even a ramp that lets employees bring their bikes up into the building. "This makes both a symbolic and practical commitment to encouraging employee health and wellbeing."