Stair of the Week: the Living Staircase by Paul Cocksedge

living staircase
© Paul Cocksedge

TreeHugger's Stair of the Week posts promote stairs that do more than just get you from floor to floor, but that actually make you want to take the stairs. Designer Paul Cocksedge's Living Staircase certainly does that. He would have needed an engineer like ARUP to figure this one out:

By examining the structure of a staircase, it was discovered that by expanding the diameter and by removing the traditional central, load-bearing pillar, a new hidden space was revealed at its centre. As you emerge onto each floor, you can now enter the centre of the spiral and into social spaces devoted to a specific activity: a place to draw, to read a novel, to pick fresh mint for tea.

Everything about ‘The Living Staircase’ relates directly to the people using it, including the plants along the balustrade, which are not intended as merely decoration, but envisaged as a working garden, each plant cared for by individual members of the community.

It's being built for Ampersand, a " state-of-the-art creative office development in Soho, London."

The Living Staircase is actually a combination of staircase and room, of movement and stillness, vertical and horizontal’, Paul Cocksedge explains in his newsletter. ‘At every turn there is an opportunity to stop and look, smell, read, write, talk, meet, think, and rest. If a staircase is essentially about going from A to B, there is now a whole world living and breathing in the space between the two.

Arup will have quite the challenge, holding those big round seating areas up in the air with no visible means of support. Some appear to be connected to the rest of the building and acting as landings, but some are just hanging out there.

it's in a building of " iconic offices for creative companies."

ampersand© Resolution Property

I always thought that creative companies liked old buildings and low rents, but evidently in London their requirements are different:

Aimed firmly at meeting the workspace requirements of London’s creative businesses, Ampersand will include roof terraces on the southern and western elevations, plus bike parking and showers in the basement, in addition to break-out and interaction spaces in the atrium.

Stair of the Week: the Living Staircase by Paul Cocksedge
Why should a stair just be a stair?

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