chapter  8
15 Pages

Concrete stairs

Both Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier were enthusiastic exponents of reinforced concrete and realized stair designs that captured the plastic qualities of the material. The long curving ramp at the Guggenheim Museum (refer back to Figure 2.25a and 2.25b) is perhaps the most celebrated cantilevered form. Le Corbusier's designs from the heroic period (1920-30) transformed ramps and stairs into sculptured volumes that interpenetrated the floor spaces of his major buildings. The poetic geometry given to the circulation elements within the Villa Savoye (referring back to Figure 4.11) is amplified in the palatial volumes made for grand projects such as the League of Nations or the Centrosoyus Building, Moscow. The staircase structure and its relation to the plan in the Goldfinger House in Hampstead is a microcosm of the Corbusian principles, revealing the key to employing monolithic concrete to form both column and curving slab within a single stair (refer back to Figure 4.12).