Stair of the Week: Turning circulation into a spectacular amenity
...a social space where people can meet, a place that connects people to one another both literally and figuratively. The staircase as a tool for communication, lends the building a collective identity. As a vertical lobby that offers views of all floors, it tells occupants that they are part of a larger world.
I have noted before that if stairs were designed with more care and flair, then people wouldn't take the elevators and escalators so much, saving energy and making people healthier. Mayor Bloomberg of New York has recently joined the party, with his Center for Active Design, promoting " greater physical movement within buildings for users and visitors."
Here, the architects are trying to tie together a multi-tenant building, a renovation of an old warehouse.
Out of the concrete floors we carved a 14-metre-tall void that houses a giant staircase that cuts diagonal lines through the void as it makes its way upwards, linking the different floors to one another. Now people are on the move, making their way back and forth on the timber steps. Some of them linger for a chat, and there’s space on the broad treads to sit for a moment. The sound of chatter and the aroma of coffee from the café below now fill the hall. Most of the office space has already been leased, bringing the building back to life once again.
The openness and transparency achieved through the addition of glass partition walls and the voluminous atrium ensures views to the outside from almost everywhere within. Suspended ceilings have been removed to reveal the authentic concrete floor with T-beams. Now this rough, column-free load-bearing structure determines the atmosphere.