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Quai Building

Quai d'Orsay

Moving on Up: Installing Stairs in the Quai Building

We’re totally reorganizing the Quai d’Orsay building – which means we need to make major structural changes to accommodate a lot more people, and to ensure that our new Learning Center complies with local building code.

So, some time ago we demolished the existing staircases, and the shaft that contained the building’s two tiny elevators. Since then, getting around the Quai has been a bit like playing the wonderful old children’s game “Snakes and Ladders.” Well, alright, there aren’t really any snakes. But there certainly are ladders! And holes. To move between floors, we’ve been climbing up and down these rickety contraptions, through person-sized rectangular openings cut through the middle of each concrete floor.

That’s certainly fun for a while, but it gets old pretty fast – especially if you’re wearing a nice wool coat. And long term, we’d probably get a few complaints if we didn’t install a more convenient system.

It was therefore with much relief (and a healthy dose of childish enthusiasm) that we received our first set of staircases on February 21. Taking advantage of the large openings created at the corner of each floor precisely for our future staircases, we hoisted the flights of stairs up to each floor using strong chains and pullies attached to the 8th floor ceiling.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll install the new staircases in the eastern corner of the building, piling them all the way up from the basement to the 8th floor. In another few weeks, we’ll receive a second shipment of stairs. And at some point in the not-too-distant future, ladders and holes will be nothing but an amusing memory.