Ovington Stair

Hone Studio, London, 2015

 

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Christine Cellier     Download Original

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Three cantilever stone staircases hand cut in French limestone

The staircases were hand cut from French Combe Brune limestone using traditional tools and techniques but designed using complex three-dimensional finite element analysis.

The first two flights adopt principles that have been used for hundreds of years, but have been refined to allow a thin elegant stringer line and a geometric soffit profile. Each tread tapers from wall to tip giving the effect of a folded piece of paper and creating what we call 'the origami stair'. The effect not only adds geometric interest to the stair soffits, but also reduces the weight of the stone treads. A cantilevered glass balustrade with a notched edge is set into a groove cut directly into the solid stone, avoiding the need for expensive and unsightly fixings and giving a clean, elegant fascia.

The second, and arguably most impressive flight, literally turns the principle of a cantilever stone staircase on its head. The staircase hovers above a glass floor, suspended by a folded steel strap hanging each tread from the tread above.

The open design pushes the properties of stone to its limits but allows light to penetrate through the stair through the glazed floor to the basement swimming pool below.

The design and detailing exploits the inherent strengths of the materials. The steel ribbon works largely in tension and is connected via a series of discrete steel dowels with recessed pattresses. These dowels act to embed the strap into the stone and transfer tensile loads from the steel, to compressive loads in the stone harnessing the best qualities of each material.

Data

  • Completed: Aug 2015
  • Sector: House
  • Total cost: £40,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Address: Ovington Square, London, NA, United Kingdom

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