Accommodation stairs

Accommodation stairs are defined as additional or amenity stairs in excess of means of escape provisions. In reality accommodation routes often form the most conspicuous features within com-

Figure 3 18b Another view of Water Tower Place

Figure 3-18a New art form for escalators and lifts: Water Tower Place, Chicago, 1976, Architects: Loebl, Schlossman, Bennett and Dart mercial interiors. The key role is to link the crucial zones of the building, not only by moving people but with the creation of a visual interconnection between the storeys. Portman's hotel designs are obvious examples where escalators, lifts and stairs are all employed to full theatrical effect within a vast atrium.

Figure 3 18b Another view of Water Tower Place

The benefits occur with more modest schemes, particularly in two- and three-storey buildings where a stairwell allows the interior to be open to view. Eva Jiricna's well-known designs5 often relate to stores where movement through the various spaces is celebrated by the most imaginative flights of steps. The Joseph Store in Sloan Street is the best known example (Figures 3.19« and 3.19b). The use of glass and open framing gives the

Figure 3-19a Accommodation Figures 77a-c for details)

stairs by Eva Jiricna: Layout plan, Joseph Store, Sloane Street, London (see

Figure 3-19a Accommodation Figures 77a-c for details)

stairs by Eva Jiricna: Layout plan, Joseph Store, Sloane Street, London (see

Figure 319b Interior space, Joseph Store

least interruption to the eye. Curving forms can be used to advantage to form an open cylinder within the plan. An imaginative play on this theme occurs within the Gerschaftshaus, Vienna, designed by Hans Hollein. Here, the ascending geometry is created to afford views to each corner of the complex (Figure 3.20). The circular land ings or stairs in differing widths are placed in differing planes to improve the upward perspective, encased lifts are placed alongside for functional servicing floor by floor, while the centrepiece is a veritable 'house of stairs' providing as much enjoyment as the Stiegenhaus in Brühl.

The adjustment of stair widths is a feature used in nineteenth-century hotels whereby the width reduces with ascent, this providing a tapering well and increasing the spacious quality when looking up the central well. This idea works well with three-turn designs within a squarish geometry (Figure 3.21).

Two examples from the late nineteenth century are worth noting as new building types were developed. One is the Hallidie Building, San Francisco (Figure 3.22), where the architect devised the escape stairs as the principal feature, placed externally to the fully glazed façade. The other, the most inspirational of atrium interiors, was the open metal stairs and visible lift shafts used by George H. Wyman in the Bradbury Building, Los Angeles (Figure 3.23).

Figure 3 20 Curving forms, Gerschaftshaus, Vienna, 1990, Architect: Hans Hollein

Down

First floor landing

Landing

Figure 3 20 Curving forms, Gerschaftshaus, Vienna, 1990, Architect: Hans Hollein

Down

First floor landing

Landing

Passage

Second floor Figure 3-21 Increasing well size

Figure 3-22 Hallidie Building, San Francisco, 1917, Architect: Willis Polk

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