The Atlas footbridge will be removed in the spring. The 65-metre-long bridge will be replaced by a door on the ground floor.
This is in response to the many complaints over the years from both students and staff. ‘Staff working in the building have to walk up the footbridge at least twice a day,’ explains building manager Art Hill. ‘Most days, it’s either pouring with rain or blowing a gale, or the sun is beating down mercilessly on the asphalt. According to our survey, the bridge makes people less keen to come to work and reduces their enjoyment of their job. Another issue is that a lot of the women who work in Atlas wear high heels and the footbridge is a nightmare for them.’
The Student Council is also pleased with the plan. Chair Maia Hermes: ‘While not many courses are taught in Atlas, when they are it always causes problems with students arriving too late. You need to leave home earlier to allow for the footbridge, which adds at least five minutes to the journey time. Our preferred option is for no student to ever again have to visit this intensely boring building, but even a normal door on the ground floor would be a huge improvement.’
The footbridge was part of the original design for Atlas. Won’t the removal of the bridge destroy the architectural integrity? ‘We think the building will be fine without it,’ says building manager Hill. ‘The original design also had greenery growing up the grid on the exterior of Atlas. But that didn’t work out in practice because there isn’t a single climbing plant in the Netherlands that can reach so high and stay green all year round. So there is not much left of the original design anyway.’
Incidentally, the footbridge won’t be dumped as waste; it will be reused as a footbridge over Mansholtlaan. After it is expanded to 10 lanes, that road will be too wide to cross any other way.