Page D1.1 . 23 January 2002                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
< Prev Page Next Page >
  • Staircases through History
  • Postcard from New York
  • Concept Kitchen

      Current Contents
      Blog Center
      Download Center
      New Products
      Products Guide
      Classic Home
      Architecture Forum
      Architects Directory
      Topics Library
      Complete Archive
      Web Directory
      About ArchWeek
      Subscribe & Contribute
      Free Newsletters


    [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Staircases through History

    by Eva Jiricna

    Staircases are one of the oldest building elements in architectural history, though it would be difficult to date their origin precisely. They appear to change with architectural eras, reflecting the prevailing philosophies and symbolic languages, unveiling the talent and ingenuity of those who have created them.

    They respond to the type of society for which they were built and, among other things, inform us about the existing state of the arts, fashion, and technology. They become landmarks and trademarks, a constant source of inspiration, a never-ending story; they have been and will remain a stimulus to new and different interpretations, as there can always be an innovative solution to a perennial architectural problem.

    Among all of the other architectural elements, staircases occupy a special position and can and very often do totally overshadow the building of which they are a part. The skill with which some stairs, past or present, have been built very often stretches the limits of human imagination.

    Sometimes it is the technical knowledge that sweeps us off our feet, another time the appearance, the form, materials, or specific detailing. Staircases are an integral part of our daily life, as much as a special event or a memorable experience. The associations connected with the stairs of the Paris Opera or those sweeping sets in the Busby Berkeley movies of the 1930s fill an important place in our memories, where reality meets dreams.

    This article is excerpted from Staircases by Eva Jiricna, with permission of the publisher, Watson-Guptill Publications.   >>>



    ArchWeek Image

    The grand staircase at the Paris Opera, built by Charles Garnier in 1875.
    Photo: Frank Eustache/Archipress

    ArchWeek Image

    The central staircase at the Villa Savoye (1929-1931), Poissy, France, by Le Corbusier.
    Photo: © Don Corner and Jenny Young / ArtificeImages


    Click on thumbnail images
    to view full-size pictures.

    < Prev Page Next Page > Send this to a friend       Subscribe       Contribute       Advertise       Privacy       Comments
    AW   |   GREAT BUILDINGS   |   DISCUSSION   |   SCRAPBOOK   |   BOOKS   |   FREE 3D   |   SEARCH © 2002 Artifice, Inc. - All Rights Reserved