Artworks are signposts on road to health

Lamar Station Crossing makes stairwell appealing

Posted 3/3/15

There are times when finding the inspiration to exercise is tricky — and it can be even more difficult when the only exercise options are indoors.

Metro West Housing Solutions’ Lamar Station Crossing decided to use the art of Laura Phelps …

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Artworks are signposts on road to health

Lamar Station Crossing makes stairwell appealing

Posted

There are times when finding the inspiration to exercise is tricky — and it can be even more difficult when the only exercise options are indoors.

Metro West Housing Solutions’ Lamar Station Crossing decided to use the art of Laura Phelps Rogers in its main stairwell to create an inspiring atmosphere and get its residents moving. Together the organization and artist created an active stairwell — a new design concept that enhances mental well-being with positive messaging and other design elements and encourages stair-climbing as a form of exercise. The project is funded by Colorado Health Foundation.

“I wanted to create an environment instead of a static wall-hanging piece. It should be an experience for residents,” Rogers said. “I went to Lamar Station several times and just sat in the stairwell and thought about what I could do to change the space.”

The effort to create an active stairwell is a result of Metro West’s health-first initiative, which focuses on the enhancing the quality of life for residents by using the building and its design, said Ryan McCaw, sustainability and grant programs manager with Metro West.

“The stairs were designed to feature artwork,” he said. “We sought out some grants to support this program, because our residents are there every day — we wanted to build an interactive experience in the stairwell.”

McCaw and Rogers both spoke about the perception that stairs are typically gloomy, unsafe places in a building that residents and visitors barely think about. Just by brightening up the stairs and making them safe, it opens them up to all kinds of design opportunities.

Rogers said the sky was her inspiration, and she wanted the message “walk to improve your outlook” to follow the walker as they ascended the stair into the sky. There are still elements that need to be added, including some sound features, and McCaw said Lamar Station is already looking at ways to grow its active stairwell program.

“The program fits in with our theme here of transportation, inclusivity and healthy living,” McCaw said. “It’s a cost-effective way to encourage healthy habits and enhance better moods for all our residents.”

For Rogers, it was a chance to create an installation that people can experience in a new way.

“People are able to interpret it and enter the work — and what better place than a stairwell?” she said. “I think the idea behind this will challenge the way people look at stairwells in the future.”

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