Launch Slideshow

The design for the staircase is centered on folded stainless steel. Hung from a structural steel support on the top level of the townhouse, vertical folded pieces create a continuous screen that encloses the two above-grade flights of stairs. Tabs on the bent risers are fitted into slots on the vertical pieces, which created an easy setup for on-site construction and spot-welding.

Dynamic Descent

Dean/Wolf Architects designs a folded stainless steel staircase for a Manhattan townhouse.

Dynamic Descent

Dean/Wolf Architects designs a folded stainless steel staircase for a Manhattan townhouse.

  • The design for the staircase is centered on folded stainless steel. Hung from a structural steel support on the top level of the townhouse, vertical folded pieces create a continuous screen that encloses the two above-grade flights of stairs. Tabs on the bent risers are fitted into slots on the vertical pieces, which created an easy setup for on-site construction and spot-welding.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp1096%2Etmp_tcm20-193253.jpg

    The design for the staircase is centered on folded stainless steel. Hung from a structural steel support on the top level of the townhouse, vertical folded pieces create a continuous screen that encloses the two above-grade flights of stairs. Tabs on the bent risers are fitted into slots on the vertical pieces, which created an easy setup for on-site construction and spot-welding.

    600

    Courtesy Dean/Wolf Architects

    The design for the staircase is centered on folded stainless steel. Hung from a structural steel support on the top level of the townhouse, vertical folded pieces create a continuous screen that encloses the two above-grade flights of stairs. Tabs on the bent risers are fitted into slots on the vertical pieces, which created an easy setup for on-site construction and spot-welding.

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp1090%2Etmp_tcm20-193221.jpg

    600

    Courtesy Dean/Wolf Architects

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp1095%2Etmp_tcm20-193246.jpg

    600

    Courtesy Dean/Wolf Architects

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp1092%2Etmp_tcm20-193232.jpg

    600

    Courtesy Dean/Wolf Architects

  • Stair screen assembly diagram

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp1098%2Etmp_tcm20-193267.jpg

    Stair screen assembly diagram

    600

    Courtesy Dean/Wolf Architects

    Stair screen assembly diagram

  • Stair treads cutting layout

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp1099%2Etmp_tcm20-193274.jpg

    Stair treads cutting layout

    600

    Courtesy Dean/Wolf Architects

    Stair treads cutting layout

When tasked with designing a staircase for a Manhattan townhouse, New York firm Dean/Wolf Architects eschewed typical wood and drywall for laser-cut and bent stainless steel. The design was limited by the available materials—stainless comes standard in 4-foot-by-12-foot sheets, and the brake press needed to bend the steel could only accommodate a 12-foot-wide piece of material. The solution was to limit the height of the structural members—which had to support two flights of stairs—to no more than 24 feet, or two of the 12-foot pieces, thereby limiting the number of joints.

Each piece—whether vertical support or horizontal tread—was first cut on a CNC laser-cutting machine to achieve a custom profile. The pieces were then bent on a brake press and joined for a zero-tolerance fitting in the fabrication shop. A custom joint was fabricated to extend the height of the vertical structure members, and Dean/Wolf spaced the joints so that each is located just below a tread on the upper flight of stairs, to impart a certain logic to the disruption. The vertical members were hung from the top-floor ceiling, under a skylight, and the treads were slipped into pre-cut notches in the vertical members and then fastened into place.

The jury reviewed numerous folded-metal assemblies and decided to award one “best-in-show” prize to represent that technology. In describing Dynamic Descent, juror Lauren Crahan said: “I think it’s a very successful project, and it’s documented really well.” Craig Hodgetts agreed, and remarked: “It takes the tension stair that one extra step, and transforms it.”


  • Kathryn Dean
    Kathryn Dean
  • Charles Wolf
    Charles Wolf
  • Stephen Mueller
    Stephen Mueller
  


Dynamic Descent, New York

Architect Dean/Wolf Architects, New York—Kathryn Dean, Charles Wolf (principals); Stephen Mueller (project architect)

Contractor SASA Renovations

Steel Fabricator Maloya Laser

Structural Engineering Consultant Hage Engineering

M/E/P Engineering Consultant M.A. Rubiano

2009 R+D Awards

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