Detailing a Stair

Watch Your Step

Contributed by Allison Stadnyck

One of the things that I enjoy most is detailing a stair. The function of the stair will dictate a lot of things. You will have a lot less design freedom on an egress stair compared to a convenience stair connecting several floors of a client’s space.

Things to Consider:
  • Layout: Straight flight, “L” shape, “U” shape
  • Structure: Center stringer vs two stringers
  • Open vs. Closed Riser
  • Materials: metal, concrete, glass, wood

The biggest challenge for me is how do you bring the designers inspirational sketches to life? How do you create a stair that has champagne taste on a beer or wine budget? The design is in the details.

What will the joints look like? How will the guardrail be supported? How will the guardrail support the handrail? What hardware should be used? The initial design inspiration was the stair in the Olivetti store by Carlo Scarpa and one of the stairs at the MOMA. How can we achieve this look if we can’t do a saw toothed steel stringer?

We had to think outside the box.

The solution was in the structure below. Angles could support each tread and we could slip the pre-fabricated tread over the steel supports. We were able to detail it in a way that we could still maintain the “open” riser. The steel stringer supports the glass guardrail and was clad with lacquered wood.

Special thanks to the following company for sponsoring this detail: Banner Ad
  • Stair Details
    Stair Details
  • Stair Section Detail
    Stair Section Detail
  • MOMA
  • Carlo Scarpa Stair
    Carlo Scarpa Stair
  • Stair