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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Moffit study dungeon

This odd structure is one of a series of little study alcoves on the first floor of Moffit. The cubicle is really pretty oddly designed. I'm not too sure why a lot of the design choices were made, because they don't seem to do anything for the users.

This one is part of a long chain of cubicles, some less weirdly shaped than this one. For instance, some of them don't have the wall that partially partitions this one. That's good, because I'm struggling to come up with a way this half-wall would be of any use, ever.

The partition divides the room in half, but only extends partway into the cubicle. So you can move from one side to the other if you squeeze by the desks. What good would this do anyone? If you want to collaborate, you can talk across the divide (which is OK, given that this floor is pretty noisy. It's near the Moffitt Microcomputer Facilities and some other space used more for group meetings than individual study.) But you can't really move around to work on anything, and you can't comfortably accomodate more than two people. Why not just individual study cubicles? In this design, there's no good way to collaborate on a project. Other facilities, such as the study rooms in the Main Stacks, are much more conducive to group work, because they provide privacy, whiteboards, and more work space.

Also, note the materials used in the structure. Against the back wall, there are two large panels of glass. To me, this indicates that there was some conception of privacy already, via glass doors between the study room and common area. But even if this were implelmented, it might not be too useful, because there's no roof on the cubicle so sound would escape. The ugly exposed metal you see on the outside was not designed that way – I think a panel fell off. But the most interesting is the green stuff used on the walls:

The walls are some kind of stucco-like stuff intended as a permanent installation. But they're pockmarked all over with holes from pushpins. The bumpy texture resembles a bulletin board, affording posting things on the walls, even though this damages the walls! That's bad. From any perspective, these cubicles are a disaster.