Groves-Raines Architects

Royal Terrace Stair

Residential

Part of a larger renovation project, the client's brief was to create a new stair linking two flats to form a single house within the Grade A listed Edinburgh terrace. The stair is positioned at the heart of the house, linking the two levels together seamlessly and allowing as much light as possible into the lower ground floor level.

Inspired by the work of sculptors Locky Morris and Barbara Hepworth, the proposal endeavoured to abstract the floor surface to form a sculptural, flowing spiral. The conventional spiral stair plan has been twisted so that the leading edge of each tread runs perpendicular to the tangent of the central void, meaning that visually, each tread tapers into the next creating a continuous timber surface when viewed from above. In order to achieve this complex geometry while allowing light to pass through the structure, each tread is supported on a unique cantilevered steel profile tapering in plan and section. While forming a single solid surface when viewed from above, the profile of the treads mean that each step is viewed as an individual element from below: visually reminiscent of turbine blades or a wing profile. The light flows between the steps and creates different qualities of light and form when viewed from any point in the space. A central glazed balustrade is supported from the end of each cantilevered tread, while a recessed handrail runs around the perimeter wall.

The grain of the timber cladding has been orientated to match the direction of the leading of each tread and to enhance the flow and movement of the stair. This treatment is carried into the upper floor landing, tying the stair into the rest of the house.

Lighting is incorporated into each step, with LED strips discreetly fitted between the steel profile and timber cladding. The space, form and illumination of the stair have created a serene quality to this area and formed a new central point to the family home.

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