More than a bridge or passage between different levels, the staircase here assumes multiple functions. The same riser (175mm) is multiplied to become a bench (350mm), a table (700mm) and keeps rising to form floor slabs, roofs, gardens, skylights, sleeping areas, living areas and so on. The Primitive Future House installation by Sou Fujimoto at the 2010 Venice Biennale goes back to basics in using one element to fulfil primary living functions. Photo: Joe Mizzi. Right: A lightweight insertion in steel and glass contrasts with the rigid geometry of the space around it. A pinch in the staircase and the handrail give the illusion of movement, while a large translucent glass pane beneath the stair treads allows light from the stairwell to permeate to the bathroom below. Hanging Home by Chris Briffa Architects, 2011. Photo: David Pisani
The flowing, open plan interior is accentuated by the introduction of a lightweight and dynamic staircase whose appearance changes – from solid to see-through – depending on the position of the viewer. Solid maple with a natural finish waschosen as the only material for the staircase to complement the natural qualities of the rest of the apartment which include whitewashed walls and fair-faced concrete. Pjazza Tigne by Chris Briffa Architects, 2011. Photo: Tonio Lombardi
A shallow and vertical space inspired the construction of a staircase which fulfilled the primary shop functions: display, storage, seating, as well as concealing building services and providing a particular shopping experience to patrons. Staircase at Shu by Chris Briffa Architects, 2007. Photo: David Pisani
Staircases have always been an object of fascination to architects , designers and artists alike. In some cases they inspire illusion and deception. Untitled by Rachel Whiteread. www.tate.org.uk. Right: Originally conceived as a strictly utilitarian passageway which was to take up as little space as possible, at Casa Del Brio the (spiral staircase), tucked away at the rear of the property, was liberated from the walls and other structural elements abutting it to form outdoor terraces at different levels throughout the house, and to expose the now freestanding curvilinear structure as a veritable sculpture and focal point. Casa del Brio by Chris Briffa Architects, 2012. Photo: Chris Briffa Architects
A vintage photo of the Spanish Steps, Rome. www.wikimedia.org. Historically, as in the case of the Spanish Steps in Rome, staircases frequently served as a baroque backdrop to the theatrical activities happening in the street below. Today, staircases fulfil certain urban functions of passage as well as gathering and meeting spaces. Many times, staircases also served as a ceremonial passage between spaces, to heighten the experience of rising towards a space of particular significance.
An etching by artist Maurits Cornelis Escher. Escher etchings.
The staircase of the Biblioteca Laurenziana by Michelangelo. www.storiaeconservazione.unirc.it
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