There is an appalling trend in house design lately where home elevators are, if not standard, certainly are becoming common. The Globe and Mail writes about a 41 year old homebuilder in Calgary who installed one from his basement garage to the main level because "Hauling groceries up a flight of stairs with two young sons in tow wasn’t going to work."
Much of the justification for putting in elevators is that " demand is partly driven by baby boomers who want to “age in place.” In fact, the opposite is true; there are elderly New Yorkers living in walkup apartments that swear that the stairs are what keeps them fit and mobile. Dr. Harvey Simon told the New York Times:
Walking up stairs is one of the best-kept secrets in preventive medicine...Today, cardiologists tell heart patients they are fit enough to have sex if they can walk up two or three flights comfortably, and surgeons may clear patients for lung operations if they can manage five or six flights. As for housewives, taking care of a two- or three-story home is one reason American women outlive their husbands by an average of more than five years.
That's why stairs should not be afterthoughts, buried in the back of office buildings and sealed with alarms; they should be up front and center, places for exercise and interaction. That's why the Panorama house in South Korea is so interesting; Architect Moon Hoon has designed a stair that is so much more than just vertical transportation. It is "a multi-functional space which is a large staircase, bookshelves, casual reading space, home cinema, slide and much more…"
Beside having a slide for descending and a stair for ascent, it is lined with books in front and under.
Sections of it act more like bleachers than stairs; the whole thing turns into a home theater setup. That's multifunction design.
The multi-use stair and slice space brings much active energy to the house, not only children, but also grown ups love the slide staircase…An action filled playful house for all ages…
Lots more images of the rest of the house at the Contemporist.