ARCH 4605/6605
The Stair

A series of stairs running between three levels with a parking lot below and an auditorium above

Hans Scharoun, Berlin Philharmonie. photo / Mila Hacke

  • Instructor: Rodolfo R. Dias
  • Time: Th 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 261C East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Representation

"When you enter a building there's a moment when you come to a stair and you have to stop. Then you must make the effort to position your feet, and then hold onto the handrail, otherwise, you’ll fall. For this reason, it is a crucial episode in a building and this is always extraordinary."

~Alvaro Siza Vieira in conversation with Kenneth Frampton

  1. Rationale: Special Topics in Construction seminar that focusses on the stairs as one of the remaining elements in architecture that rely entirely in the knowledge, responsibility and talent of the architect. Stairs connect spaces in different levels and introduce vertical voids to the planimetry of a building. Stairs represent a unique opportunity to sparkle spatial qualities and spice light conditions.
  1. Course Aims and Objectives: Present to the students a vast overview of inspiring stairs of contemporary architecture. Bring the ability to identify stair elements, their particular design and importance in the overall experience on architecture. Develop skills in the representation of architectural stair details, per standards following the professional field.
  1. Format and Procedures: Course will consist of lectures, discussion upon material presented and presentation of students' research work. First part of class to be dedicated to visuals of notable contemporary architectural stairs, and concurrent open discussion with students. Lecture format to be a conversation between instructor and students. Students expected to individually research assigned case study stairs to detail level. As a second part, the students will individually design and detail a stair for the school, that builds on the collective knowledge from the first assignment research.
  1. Instructor Assumptions: Technical drafting and representation will have a critical role in execution of weekly assignments. Autocad proficiency is required.

Instructor permission required:

Autocad proficiency is required. Students must attend the first class to request enrollment.

View a PDF of this class description.