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Staircase

17 Unconventional Stair Railings To Inspire Your Next Project

12:00 - 2 September, 2018
17 Unconventional Stair Railings To Inspire Your Next Project, © Mark Cocksedge
© Mark Cocksedge

Cortesía de Olgooco Mohammad Hassan Ettefagh © Tomas Balej © Fran Parente © Christian Richters + 18

Guardrails and handrails are two elements that are often confused. While the first is used to close a space and prevent a person from falling, the second is a support bar for balance. Normally standard solutions are used for both elements, but with an attractive design, they can become standout details in a project.

For inspiration on materials, structures, and details of guardrails and handrails, here are 17 notable examples.

A Collection of Herzog & de Meuron's Striking Staircases

06:00 - 27 June, 2018
A Collection of Herzog & de Meuron's Striking Staircases, Tate Modern Switch House / Herzog & de Meuron © Iwan Baan
Tate Modern Switch House / Herzog & de Meuron © Iwan Baan

Stairs aren't only a means of vertical circulation. Through their might and scale, this building element can easily become the protagonist of a space. From afar one can observe the movement of people; from within the staircase the viewer is treated to new angles and perspectives of the building.

The prominence of staircases in the work of 2001 Pritzker Prize winners Herzog and de Meuron underscore the belief that risers and treads are never solely an element of circulation—they are generators of dynamism and rhythm that influence the essence of their projects.

How to Calculate Spiral Staircase Dimensions and Designs

08:00 - 17 June, 2018
How to Calculate Spiral Staircase Dimensions and Designs, © Matheus Pereira
© Matheus Pereira

Spiral staircases save valuable square meters because they occupy a much smaller area than a conventional staircase. With daring shapes and diverse configurations, they can also be iconic objects in projects. However, the design of these staircases requires careful attention so that you can prevent an uncomfortable or dangerous outcome. Although BIM software simplifies this process, it's always important to understand the restrictions and the underlying concepts.

How to Calculate Staircase Dimensions and Designs

08:00 - 23 April, 2018
© José Tomás Franco
© José Tomás Franco

This question can be basic and you may know the answer, but it's always good to remember some elementary calculations that help us to streamline the design process.

As we know, a staircase consists basically of a series of steps, which in turn consist of a tread (the horizontal part, where the foot will rest) and a riser (the vertical part). Although it can vary in its design, each step must also have one or more landings, handrails, and a small nosing. The latter protrudes from the tread over the lower step, allowing to increase its size without adding centimeters to the overall dimensions of the staircase.

Check the effective formula developed by French architect François Blondel, which allows you to determine the correct dimensions of a comfortable and efficient staircase according to its use.

15 Fantastic Photos of Stunning Staircases

12:00 - 28 January, 2018
© Johannes Vogt
© Johannes Vogt

© Mark Cocksedge © Ed Reeve © José Campos © Bruce Damonte + 16

The staircase is a fundamental element for the connection of architectural spaces. But beyond its functional use, in many projects the staircase serves as a sculptural object, offering an opportunity for architects to generate creative spatial forms that animate the built space. In this installment of our Photos of the Week, we present 15 incredible staircases captured by photographers such as Patricia Parinejad, José Campos, and Brigida González.

CEBRA's Spiral Staircase Floats Weightlessly With 10 Tons of Copper

08:00 - 28 November, 2017
© David Trood
© David Trood

Walking in through the entrance of the Experimentarium by architecture firm CEBRA, visitors can immediately take notice of the radiating copper Helix staircase. The Helix staircase is 100 meters long, supported with 160 tons of steel and clad and 10 tons of 7mm thick copper.

© David Trood © David Trood © David Trood © David Trood + 18

ACME's Wildly Twisting Wooden Staircase Draws Inspiration From Coco Chanel’s Famous Mirror Stair

14:00 - 11 November, 2017
ACME's Wildly Twisting Wooden Staircase Draws Inspiration From Coco Chanel’s Famous Mirror Stair, © Ed Reeve
© Ed Reeve

Conventional, straight-forward staircases can step aside to make room for these upgraded twisting and dynamic steps that make going upstairs a fun and enjoyable experience. London based studio, ACME has developed a staircase prototype with modern construction methods and an adaptive design approach.

The massive twin spiral staircase was installed at ACME's own office, which previously, had no usable stair between floors. The project takes inspiration from Coco Chanel’s mirror stair in her Parisian apartment, 31 Rue Cambon. Here, the two sides of the stair were cladded with mirrors and anyone perched at the top can observe the comings and goings on all levels of the atelier.

© Ed Reeve © Ed Reeve © Ed Reeve © Ed Reeve + 18

10 Even More Beautiful Staircases - Part III

06:00 - 30 August, 2017

The stair is one of the most fundamental elements of architecture. Whether thin and delicate or bold and colored, in some projects a staircase becomes the buildings’ main protagonist and serves as a focal point for the entire project. It is through staircases that architects create spatial forms and visuals that reveal new ways to perceive a constructed space. For this reason, we’ve searched our archives (again!) in search of some more inspiring stairs.

10 (More) Beautiful Staircases, Part II

08:00 - 25 August, 2017

We’ve already presented a selection of staircases made from beautiful materials, and are back for round 2! With different types of materials and support techniques, some stairs give us the feeling of being suspended in the air, while others play with the exposed elements that sustain them. In this round-up, we’ve got some seriously spiraling stairs, both in public and private buildings. We’re also showcasing some unique metal staircases so thin they look almost see-through – a feat of architecture and structural design.

Check out ten more unique staircases from our archive below:

© Hufton+Crow © Federico Cairoli Courtesy of Boris Zeisser 24H © Earl Carter + 11

Ascend, Descend: 10 Staircases Made From Beautiful Materials

12:00 - 19 August, 2017

Stairs do more than take you up a floor; they represent a journey the architect wants you to travel. The act of ascending and descending extends beyond planning. Projects like Herzog and De Meuron’s expressive staircases in VitraHaus, Sou Fujimoto’s inhabited stairs in Musashino’s Library and even MVRDV’s giant urban staircase allowed individuals to achieve entirely new perspectives of their surroundings or even city. Staircases hold their own as elements of architectural expression. Some blend in; others puncture a space with their unique shape and materials.

Courtesy of Embaixada arquitectura © Rafaela Netto © Pietro Savorelli © Nelson Kon + 11

If Staircases Are Such A Crucial Architectural Element, Why Are They So Often Neglected?

04:00 - 4 August, 2017

Staircases can trigger conversations, provide a sense of arrival, and dazzle with ingenuity. As an architectural element, they are not just about circulation – so why are they neglected in the design of so many new projects? In this short film from Monocle, the breadth of ingenuity possible with the stair—from those of the Danish National Bank in Copenhagen to London’s Leighton House Museum—explore how they can come to embody the very essence of a good architectural project.

This Cantilevered Wooden Staircase is Constructed Without the Use of Fixings

06:00 - 2 August, 2017
This Cantilevered Wooden Staircase is Constructed Without the Use of Fixings, © Gustavo Frittegotto
© Gustavo Frittegotto

Designed by architect Rafael Iglesia for the home of the Del Grande family in Rosario, Argentina, this staircase is the result of a system of counteracting forces. The structure's wooden elements are held in place only by the friction and pressure that is produced between the pieces of wood that make up the system.

"Vertical Walking" Prototype Aims to Replace the Stair

12:00 - 24 October, 2016
"Vertical Walking" Prototype Aims to Replace the Stair, Vertical Walking movement. Image © Rombout Frieling Lab
Vertical Walking movement. Image © Rombout Frieling Lab

Vertical Walking, an experimental prototype by Rombout Frieling Lab designed "to move ourselves between floors in a building," exploits the potential of the human body, materials and intelligent design to require less than 10% of the effort required by taking a flight of stairs – and without the need for any sort of ancillary power supply. The ultimate aim of the designers is to allow people to "move harmoniously through our vertical habitats of the future."

Video: How to Build Your Own Spiral Staircase Using a CNC Router

12:25 - 16 August, 2016

In this video, Ben Uyeda of HomeMade Modern demonstrates how to build a sleek, contemporary spiral staircase using just a standard schedule steel post, plywood and a CNC router (along with a healthy amount of wood and construction glue). To build the staircase, Uyeda uses the CNC to cut out 12 shapes of incremental size from a plywood sheet, which he then stacks and fits around the post to secure into place.

HomeMade Modern has also made the CAD files available for free, so handy woodworking types can attempt the construction themselves.

Vote Now: Staircase Design Competition

15:30 - 10 February, 2016
Vote Now: Staircase Design Competition, EeStairs Staircase Design Competition
EeStairs Staircase Design Competition

UPDATE: The shortlisted entries have been announced and public voting is open until February 15th! Cast your vote here.

International staircase design specialist, EeStairs - has launched the second edition of its Staircase Design Competition. Open to anyone who wishes to participate - the entries will be shortlisted by a panel of expert judges before the winners are decided by public vote in February 2016. In March, two cash prizes of £2,000 each, will be awarded at a prize giving ceremony.

EeStairs is on the hunt for individuals who will look beyond staircases and balustrades as functional components of architecture, but instead combine practicality and artistic imagination to create truly outstanding designs.

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

18:00 - 10 June, 2015
 Matter Design's "Helix" Stair Takes Concrete to the Next Level, Courtesy of Matter Design
Courtesy of Matter Design

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 + 17

For the Love of Stairs

00:00 - 14 February, 2013
For the Love of Stairs, Apartament P1 / MAP/MX
Apartament P1 / MAP/MX

On this day of love, we bring you a compilation of eye candy capable of meeting or exceeding the specifications of any architect. These seductive staircases demand a double take. From curvaceous to straightforward or no-strings-attached (literally), we’ve got something for everyone. 

They're yours to gaze at after the break. 

Vertebrae Staircase / Andrew McConnell

00:00 - 9 February, 2013
Courtesy of Andrew McConnell
Courtesy of Andrew McConnell

Inspired by the spine of a whale, the Vertebrae Staircase is not simply mimicry of organic form but an exploration in shaping structure. Much of the design work went into refining the single component, or vertebra, that mate with each other creating a unified spine running from floor plate to floor plate. These interlocking vertebrae create a rigid and self-supporting structure. 

More on Andrew McConnell's 'Vertebrae Staircase' after the break.