In my Arch+Details series I will be breaking down architecture to its functional elements, such as staircases, doors/gates, windows, furniture and many more. This past week I have had the urge to really study and analyze the components that make this art form possible. My first entry is staircases. Now, the purpose of this is not really to post images and list the designer or the architect who did it (you can always post a comment and ask who did which piece), but rather to allow the imagination run wild and see how a simple concept like a staircase is interpreted differently in material use, purpose and design. There have been a few articles written about staircases and what they mean. Back in antiquity, staircases were monumental and were reflections of political power and religious imagery. The pyramids of Meso-America included 4 exterior staircases that were steep to resemble the long rigorous path to reach salvation into heaven. At the top of these pyramids were either small temples or shrines in which people were sacrificed to satisfy the Gods, or for a moment of prayer to bring prosperity to the civilization. Nowadays, monumental staircases are inside/outside museums and large governmental and educational buildings. Functionally, staircases are a point of access connecting different levels of the structure. A lot of architects see staircases as the heart of the building; And I completely agree. Staircases are more than just access points, they have grown a social function as well. The high percentage of traffic flow allows for individuals to cross paths and interact. Some staircase designs incorporate a double use as either a ramp, slide (yes, I said slide. See image below), book case and landing platforms to relax on. And the concept of the staircase does not just stop at the actual structure of it, but also urban planning has adopted the staircase as a model for towns and cities (see image below). At times, the shape of a structure, or just a portion of it, is heavily influenced and dictated by the staircase. They come in different sizes, shapes, design, materials and usage, which amazes me how something so simple can truly be astonishing and captivating when completed. Some of the designs below either create an intimate moment and blend with the rest of the architecture, or it resembles an aggressive tension with the rest of the house/building. Check the images below and let me know what you think! Some of these images are incredible!
|Bottom of the staircase keeps the continuity intact|