By Melissa Kennedy
The architecture school on the University of Michigan campus is located a bit far from the central campus most are familiar with – the one that holds [what seems like] millions on Saturdays during football season. The architecture, engineering, and music schools are located on North Campus, roughly 1-1/2 miles from Central Campus. While I was attending classes on North Campus, I was challenged by a fellow student to ride my bicycle. I was even provided with fenders to ward off any excuse I could have in combating rain and succumbing to taking the bus. Riding my bike did more than save me plenty of parking tickets – it promoted a healthy, active lifestyle and a feeling of accomplishment. As an exercise enthusiast, I went from running marathons to competing in Ironman triathlons. Juggling this with a full-time job forced me to optimize every minute of every day: running during lunch breaks, continuing to ride my bike to work, waking up early to run, swim or go to the gym. So when I heard the NPR special about “Active Design” I was immediately attentive. Mixing exercise with design is something I am passionate about. The episode discusses architects in New York City and their desire to conquer America’s obesity issue by integrating exercise into architecture – specifically into the design concept of stairs and promoting their use instead of taking the elevator – for those who are able. I recommend giving the episode a listen at the NPR blog. You can learn more about Active Design by visiting their website, and I highly recommend you check out their didactic graph documenting obesity in the United States. Now experience architecture one step at a time and reap the health rewards!