An impressive staircase previously dominated the hallway of this large turn of the 20th century house. Working with Tsuruta Architects, our brief was to replace this once-loved feature with a more contemporary installation.
The key challenge was to realise a more compact configuration without compromising the openness of the space. By arranging blocks of plywood vertically for the treads and risers, rather than in traditional horizontal sheets, light and air flows through small gaps, brightening the space. Using the same materials, the balustrade is formed from three layers of glued plywood and acts as a truss spanning across each landing.
The staircase is supported off the masonry wall and existing primary steelwork, with steel dowels and fixings discreetly hidden within the plywood to achieve a smooth finish. A new bathroom window overlooking the hallway lets more light flood through but restricts possible support locations so steel flitch beams are used to stiffen the stair at key locations.
In honour of the old space, several objects were retained, reused and then re-connected to the present, engraved with words taken from a dialogue between the client and architect.