Structures

Staircase

Staircase is one of the strongest transition elements in architecture. It establishes the connection between two spaces, interior and exterior, two different levels. The position of this element in a building has  been always  irreplaceable.

staircase toy

The stairs are one of the oldest buildings in architectural history, they have always played a central role in the history of humanity, although it is difficult to tell exactly in which year they were born, it is believed its appearance was by the year 6000 before Christ. The stairs seems to change shape with the change of architectural eras, reflecting the trends used in different ages and revealing the talent of those who designed them.

alternate stairsAn alternating tread stair climbing the steep slope of a pinnacle in Pinnacles National Monument, California, United States

The simplest form of staircase, down to Man o'War Cove, Dorset, EnglandThe simplest form of staircase, down to Man o’War Cove, Dorset, England

The first stairs in the history were wood trunks fitter together, these kind of stairs were used to acquire strategic positions for survival. In a basic sense, the first use which was given to the stairs was to overcome the difficulties presented by the terrain, such as valleys or mountains, the goal was to be able to pass these difficulties as soon as possible, move up often meant moving to a place of greater security, then this could have meant at that time the difference between life and death, it was very important to move quickly, hence the importance of the stairs.

history of stairsIn the history of the stairs they first emerged as a solution to a problem, although, years later it was found in China the first granite staircase leading to the sacred mountain in Tai Shan, this indicates that one of the utilities that was given to the stairs in his story was for religious purposes. Confucius in one of his stories said to have gone up this ladder to the top in the year 55 BC. The ladder was used in a metaphoric way reach the divine height and establish a connection between earth and sky. Other examples of stairs built for religious purposes are: the biblical Jacob’s ladder, the tower of Babel, which was a helical tower, the pyramids of Egypt that had stairs, the celestial ladder of Shantung in China, the stairs in India, a peculiarity of the stairs in India is that they had also scientific utility. All these stairs have something in common, they symbolize the rise of the light, the sun, and a way in to the gods path.

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Ergonomically and for safety reasons, stairs have to have certain measurements in order for people to comfortably use them. Building codes will typically specify certain measurements so that the stairs are not too steep or narrow.

There are different types of  staircases

  • Straight
  • Alternating tread
  • Spiral/ Helical/Elliptical
  • Freestanding

Straight staircases usually required more length of space to fit the flight. Also we need to break it in two flights as per the bylaws, if vertical distance to be traveled is more.So nowadays this staircase is extensively used as a decorative feature.There are lots of modifications done to accommodate more height with less flight length. Also flexible ladders is the one to mention in the same category.

Angkor Wat in CambodiaAngkor Wat in Cambodia

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Alternate tread staircase may be used where there is insufficient space for the full run length of normal stairs. Alternating tread stairs allow for safe forward-facing descent of very steep stairs. The treads are designed such that they alternate between treads for each foot: one step is wide on the left side; the next step is wide on the right side.This staircase is called as Samba staircase as well.

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Although these samba staircases are not comfortable to use and dangerous as they rules out all ergonomic standards.But still  its minimal space requirement has carved out niche for itself.

Spiral or Helical staircases are considered to be the most elegant among all. A spiral staircase by the mathematical definition therefore would be of little use as it would afford no change in elevation. The correct mathematical term for motion where the locus remains at a fixed distance from a fixed line whilst moving in a circular motion about it is “helix”.

You can rad more about history of spiral staircases here,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stairway#Spiral_and_helical_stairs

classic-simple-spiral-staircase-design

Classic spiral design

asymmetrical-modern-spiral-staircaseasymmetrical-modern-spiral-staircase

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External spiral in the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo in Venice, Italy.External-spiral-in-the-palazzo-contarini-del-bovolo-in-venice-italy

helicalHelical Staircase

metal-castle-spiral-staircaseMetal Castle Spiral Staricase

spiral-postmodern-staircase-designPostmodern Spiral Staircase

ellipticalElliptical Staircase

Freestanding staircases are not confined by walls or any other building part alike. It leads to the next level without any support.All types of spiral staircases can be freestanding as it can be erected on a single column as a support.

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spiral-staircaseThere are still more to talk about guys….people are inventing innovative designs of staircases and you might have come across it already under “Amazing Staircases Section” on web. Few of them are really very functional whereas few are just for the sake of creating something unusual loosing the functionality.Still they get their positions 🙂

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This modern staircase with combination of glass and steel is eye catching though its not safe for kids

helical glass

The railing of staircase can be used as an extension for furniture piece.

Clipboard07The whole staircase can be a furniture…

Stair Library

This is an awful staircase, yeah its some porn staircase i guess correct me if i am wrong.Its a lello bookshop staircase in Portugal

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Have you heard about Infinity Staircase.Hey that sounds so touchy as its my blog’s name. Jokes apart nice concept to think about as a monument or piece of art.

Staircase infinity

I would rather say this staircase below would be a appropriate example of Infinity Staircase as it actually endless.Its looks like mobius strip

infinity staircaseby Michel de Broin, Montréal, 2003

What about the amalgamation of above all types of staircases? Sounds freaky yeah?..i know..but it does exits trust me…yes its a combination of spiral, helical and straight.

Clipboard16Few more to mention,

glass staircaseApple Store at San Fransisco

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Not sure about its existence

hotel-the-gray

Hotel Stairway

Serpentine stair

Serpentine stair2Serpentine staircase

The “Survival Staircase” is the last remaining above ground remnant of the World Trade centre. The Vesey Street starway was used by hundreds of people to evacuate the towers on September 11th, 2001. For many, it was the only route of escape and is thus now termed the “Survivor’s stiarway”

survival staircase WTC

survival stariwaySurvival Staircase at WTC

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14 thoughts on “Staircase”

  1. hey i really like d info put…….actually ws lookin for stairacse details in glass bt ur dis page gav a lot of gud info n helped me sumhw……..wid sum diff things…

  2. Hi — for a spiral staircase, how do you calculate how many stairs there will be for a given height, and at what position the bottom and top step face? thanks

    1. Hi Eric,
      For spiral staircase, you have to locate the bottom step first. As per the given height, considering 150mm to 170mm riser height, you can calculate number of steps. For Ex. for 3000mm ht you need 20 steps as per 150mm riser ht.Only precaution you have to take is there should be clear ht of 2100mm for overlapping steps. if you are not getting 2100 headroom then you can increase the diameter of complete staircase.
      Regards

  3. Hi Shweta. I like the spiral post modern design. Can you give me more idea about the materials used and how it is desinged. planning to use this design.

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