Architectural Details: Stairs as Sculpture

By December 17, 2013Ideas

Architecture is often seen as the art of balancing form and function. As designers we have the opportunity to create spaces that play with light, exaggerate connections and engage the visitor in new ways. On our recent trip to San Francisco, we encountered a number of sculptural forms that also served a necessary function such as the stair designed by John Maniscalco in the Butterfly House on Russian Hill.


The architect’s fresh approach to an open stair riser uses an asymmetrical cantilever of the soft stained wood flooring combined with the steel structure, which is contained in a painted white gypsum board box. This design gives a well proportioned solid-to-void relationship in the stair risers. The glass guardrail and bentwood handrail work in harmony with this simple design. The overall design is light and airy and creates a beautiful/functional sculpture in the house. ┬áThe stair itself has a presence that defines a rhythm and mood for the rest of the home.

Visit our stairs pinterest board to see more examples of functional and beautiful staircases.