Stair of the Week: DNA Stair from Studio P-H-A

DNA Stair photo

As we noted in our review of the New York Times Building communication stair, a standard principle of design today should be comfortable, bright stairs that serve as more than fire escapes, that encourage people to take the stairs instead of the elevator. This stair is in the Institute of Molecular Genetics for the Czech Academy of Science, and fittingly, is modeled after the form of the DNA double helix.


The designers, Jan Sesták and Marek Deyl of Prague's Studio P-H-A, wanted to create a bright central meeting space. Sestak told Architectural Record: "The chief aim was to bring daylight as far as the ground level" of the six-story interior, Sesták says, adding that in the absence of more formal social spaces, daylight would induce resident scientists to gather in the generous stairwell."


The stairs are stainless steel, water-jet cut from sheets, and hung from stainless steel rods , which act also as the guards. Landings are glass. "We desired to give a 'technological' impression to the entire structure, which would correspond with the exactness of a scientific institution," Sesták says. To invoke the correspondence more literally, the glass landings are printed with an antislip grid in a pattern derived from DNA-sequence-registration-machine outputs."


There are probably greener ways to build a stair than all this stainless steel and glass, but it certainly does have an "astounding visual lightness." ::archiweb and :::Architectural Record