Have you ever thought of the stairs? I mean we see stairs everywhere, in buildings, in shops at our homes in public too, on some roads, sometimes at the back of buildings, or to go to the roof of houses, sometimes they are at the entrances of houses and so on.
Of course you have seen pictures of piano stairs too. check the video to be entertained
Architects must have never thought of the stairs until it was an after thought. They design the house, and then they think “oops how will we get to the first floor?” and somehow they create these ugly steps that give you ache in your knees, or they create a door and hide the steps behind it. Sometimes they even forget the lighting, so you feel you are creeping inside a dungeon, and worried that a monster will come out to you and munch on your body parts.
Electricity will shut down at times, and you are bound to take the stairs instead of the lift, then you find that each step is built in varying heights, then you end up with a pain in your knees, sometimes their is no handle if you are like me who has to hold on to something when you climb stairs (or anything going up or down).
Climbing stairs is great, it gives you a lot of exercise minutes, but we do need some enjoyment when we climb them! dont you think? here is my contribution to your knowledge.
Off late I have been taking pictures of stairs and how the architects had designed them. The best ones are in palaces, you see the stairs that are done as an art piece, wide with beautiful handles that are made sometimes with marble or even with jade or different semi precious stones. The staircases in palaces and in opera houses are breathtaking, they are master pieces that lead you to the unknown, you will think if the entrance is like this, how about the rooms?
I totally loved the staircase at the intercontinental hotel in Istanbul, its made of glass, its so inviting and will let you absorb the soul of the architect that built it, notice the water feature in the bottom of the stairs! you can just stand there and watch it.
Sometimes the architect also chooses the appropriate tiles to be stacked on the wall or used on the staircases themselves, and even though its a bit tight but you are not annoyed by its tightness as the colourful tiles gives you that energy to continue to climb. Check the blue tiles in a 1 Michelin star restaurant that I had gone to in Istanbul, magnificent. even the chosen lights is blue, and the light gave the place a majestic look.
But in roads or alleyways, the ingenuity of the people shows so superbly, in an area called Balat (an old area which I think was going to be demolished but its inhabitant wanted to preserve it so they changed it with colours and made it a must see area in Istanbul, you can see the different bright coloured steps, and the walls are decorated with art and natural plants. I wonder how it is when it rains, will it be slippery? but I am sure its safe.
This staircase was taken at a dentist clinic, the art scattered around it makes you watch without thinking about the stairs, even though its rounds where tight and didn’t give you space to maneuvre:
Some famous art places also have stairs, the most famous one is the Guggenheim (New York) its the first thing i do when I visit New York, just to marvel on the building and its content. I am not sure if you have noticed though that the whole building is made of stairs, it just wraps around spirally, and suddenly you are on the 7th floor unbeknown to you that you have actually covered the whole art walls! utterly magnificent
This staircase is at my house, and as I mentioned earlier, it was an after thought and the hight of each step is varying in size, we learnt the various heights so we don’t trip over it now, but there is no way we can change them except if we pull the whole house down.
One of the best outdoor staircases I have seen and climbed was the AUB staircase in Beirut. When I visited in 1980 it was a bit different, it was renovated in 2010, and it does look safe and pretty. From memory it had 100 steps, not sure how its built now, or how many steps it has; I didn’t feel tired when I climbed those stairs, nor when I came down the stairs. But the choice of the space was supurb. It is not an after thought at all.
I also love to have an elevated house, with staircase in the entrance and probably a patio first and then the door of the house, that will give a special beauty to the place and maybe make the house so inviting to the visitors; check this entrance, its so pretty, with the plants around it and the garden furniture, lets go for afternoon tea to this house.
I feel that the architects must think of the staircase first and then build the house or the building around it. They must make it inviting, pretty and safe. They should also make it in such a way that it exposes the beauty of the place around it. They have to think that its the eye of the house or the building or the public space. and it mustn’t be taken lightly.