What Grinds Our Gears: SFU Burnaby being one big design flaw

Staring at the same slabs of concrete every day can’t be good for productivity

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A photo of the WAC Bennett library, taken from the stairs leading to the AQ. The day is overcast, accenting the gray of the concrete. SFU’s architecture is brutalist, and the image accents this incredibly well.
Surely a campus doesn’t need to look as depressing as this? PHOTO: Gudrun Wai-Gunnarsson / The Peak

By: Hannah Kazemi, SFU Student

Burnaby campus is ugly.

The buildings are glum, the hallways are dark, and the overall vibes suck so bad. Walking through the AQ at 4:00 p.m. in November feels like I’m dragging my feet through a wasteland where happiness goes to die. It’s got as much character as the protagonist in a YA novel and if I spend too much time in one spot, I start to feel sad.

Whenever SFU sends out one of those surveys where they ask if I’m “thriving as an SFU student” and for feedback on my SFU experience, I always say that SFU needs to up their interior design standards and buy some fucking houseplants or something. Yes, academia is a brutal contrast to the surrounding world, but at least the infrastructure could pretend otherwise. Give me more art! Give me greenery! Give me something other than a grey slab of concrete to stare at while I’m contemplating all my life choices!

I would DIE for some funky new indoor-outdoor study spaces. Imagine studying on colourful suede couches (or even better, bean bag chairs!). We could be learning while surrounded by plants and art and mood lighting (oh my!); all the while watching the sunset through floor-to-ceiling windows. The SUB is a good start, but let’s not stop there. Anything to change the campus’ vibes. Please, just no more concrete. I can’t take it anymore.