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Matter Design's "Helix" Stair Takes Concrete to the Next Level

Exhibited at the BSA Space as part of the Boston Design Biennial in 2013, Matter Design's Helix is a concrete spiral staircase that is full of surprises. Chief among these is its size - the stair was built at half-size to address the practical issues of weight, liability and access - but more important are the details of its assembly. While the steps of most spiral staircases are supported from either the stair's perimeter or a central column, Helix transfers loads directly through the steps below to its base which, rather than resting on the floor as it appears, is in fact suspended from a beam in the ceiling.

Exploded diagram of the casting process. Image Courtesy of Matter Design Diagram of the assembly. Image Courtesy of Matter Design Courtesy of Matter Design Courtesy of Matter Design

Periscope / Matter Design

 © Matter Design
© Matter Design

For the Young Architects Forum Atlanta’s 10UP! National Architectue Competition, participants were challenged to create a temporary installation for Atlanta. The winning 45 ft tower, Periscope, designed by Brandon Clifford and Wes Mcgee of Matter Design Studio, is an “inhabitable installation with iconic implications to advocate bold architecture for the Atlanta community and young designers across the globe.”  The designers felt the tower would create a strong marker for the city, “Through vertical expansion via the omission of a vertical restriction, this tower will engage a broader audience, inviting them to the event similar to search lights in the night sky.”

More about the tower, including lots of images and a video, after the break.