Spiral staircase inspired by a whale's spine


28 Responses to “Spiral staircase inspired by a whale's spine”

  1. Antinous / Moderator says:

    And fails compliance in every place on earth that has a building code.

    • carlogesualdodivenosa says:

      Canst thou draw out Leviathan with a building code?  or his tongue with a zoning ordinance which thou lettest down?

      Well, yeah, I suppose thou canst, depending on the jurisdiction.  And to be honest, the description sounds pretty conventional for a spiral staircase: or are there plenty of others out there which don’t provide rigid structures or resist rotational forces from cantilevering steps?

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        There’s no inner railing or central pole.  That’s like building a second-floor room missing the outer wall and saying that it’s safe because it has those three other walls.

    • Jose says:

      “We loved our nifty whale spine staircase until Susie bumped Bobby off the upper steps and he fell halfway down, cracking his spine and almost breaking his neck.”

    • Heevee Lister says:

       That’s art.  Building codes don’t apply to art. 

      You don’t climb on art, either, as a general rule, so just what is that model doing?

      Also: it’s a helix, not a spiral.

  2. Gilbert Wham says:

    Slidey banisters!

  3. paddle2paddle says:

    Reminds me of the “miraculous” spiral staircase in Santa Fe.  http://www.lorettochapel.com/staircase.html

  4. Dlo Burns says:

    No handrail? Must be from the next Starwars movie.

  5. arikol says:

    It really is a pity that he spent so much time on a design that can never be used (as others have mentioned, building codes for staircases are quite specific about the handrail/central pole thingy). As art this would be nice enough (it IS pretty), but as architecture it is an abysmal failure (architecture is meant to be used and has to comply to code).

  6. timquinn says:

    It isn’t that it has to comply to code so much. The code represents the result of years of experimentation by folks willing to give their life or limb for progress. Oh, wait, they weren’t willing, but they did it and now we know what a good stairway should be like. We don’t need to speculate about what humans need to safely ascend or descend. As a community we agreed to record the results of all these experiments and make sure that the results are respected so other innocent people don’t have to give up their safety for the sake of ego or idiocy.

    It’s just a case study, though. “not intended for production” just to look good on his next teaching application. So, whatever.

  7. llamaspit says:

    Even if it had a central pole, I don’t think it would pass. The Life/Safety Code limits the space between balusters to no more than 4 inches. Unless there is an exception for Cthulhu that I don’t know about.

  8. ChickieD says:

    Years ago on Extreme Homes they featured a home owner who had built a home in either New Mexico or Arizona. The home was more or less round, and the owner was bonkers. She had started by drawing a vague “piano” shape on a big sheet on paper, managed to find an architect who would make a model for her, and then, amazingly she went on to actually build the thing, even designing custom furniture. The house had the kitchen at the center as a sort of central hub, and the other spaces spun out around the edges. The roof was made using round roofing tiles that were installed upside down – I have no idea how well that functioned but it looked incredible. 

    To me, these spiral and round shapes seem to be so suited to our personal sense of wellbeing. Her home, as weak as she was at communicating her vision in words, seemed soothing and nurturing in a way that boxes and sharp edges are not. The layout seemed practical.

    This stairway to me seems to have that same sense of comfort and ease in its form. It seems that the structural issues could be resolved in a pleasing way. I’d love to see more shapes like this in architecture.

  9. technogeekagain says:

    Damn, I wish I had a place to use a spiral staircase. Not until I expand the house. If then.

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