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Form and function: issues in architecture and stairs

A great concept must work architecturally, structurally and be practical.
Worley Parsons Office
Flow Residential Apartments
Flow Residential Apartments

The design of a true feature staircase is a complex procedure and cannot be categorized according to a standard construction or design formula.

A great concept must also work architecturally, structurally and be practical (cost-effective) in terms of fabrication and installation. This, it must respond to the specific conditions of the setting, including functional requirements, different end-uses, and the type of host environment. For this reason we can't consider staircases as self-sufficient features.

Even when a stair is pre-fabricated or applying a standard style, they are inevitably associated with the very processes and methods inherent to architecture itself.

While a stair is always linked to its context in some way, in some instances a staircase’s design intends to take a conceptual distance from its context, and aims to express a design concept in its own right. Even when it is design to contrast with, and stand apart from its environment, (such as this office stair which 'invades' its containing office space).

A staircase may assert itseif as a sculptural device or even as a artistic creation in its own right. Consider the way in which this stair at Flow residential apartments sits serenely apart from, but working harmoniouosly with, its context.

This staircase vaunts unique and singular properties of its own, and it is this distinctive aspect that often results in the most striking and memorable stair designs. In some cases, the process of resolving the complexities of marrying appearance and technological solutions itself results in a new concept and a new approach. Some of the most interesting outcomes grow out of discussions between architects, engineers and builders. The projects in Arden's project portfolio demonstrate a variety of approaches formulated specifically to address a given situation. Nevertheless, many designs belong to a typology of kinds. This has inspired Arden to create a catalogue of design elements , each of which brings a particular visual style to bear on the elemental function of transfering occupants from floor to floor, or protecting them from falls.

Visit the Worley Parsons project page to see an example of stair designed to contrast with its surroundings

Visit the Flow residential apartments project page to see an example of stair designed to stand apart and yet sit serenely with its surroundings

Go to the Arden project portfolio

Browse the 'architectural elements' design style range, each containing downloadable PDF technical specifications

Published on: 26-Nov-2010. Topic/s: Feature staircase design