Stairs function as connecting the first floor and the second floor. However, stairs haven't only developed just pursuing its functionality. Sometimes, stairs are regarded as a symbol of authority intimidating people in addition to being a place where rituals are held. Stairs are considered a path to a different world, like heaven and earth, or sacredness and worldliness. Stairs do not exist just for the purpose of going up and down, but the idea of enhancing the stairs shape to an artistic level, has permeated.
Since ancient times in Japan, religious buildings like shrines and temples have been constructed on top of lengthy stone steps. However, houses were basically one-story structures. Starting recently, stairs have been evolving in western culture. In later years, as a result of the appearance of western houses, decorative stairs were introduced in Japanese houses. However, it is only a recent phenomenon that stairs are being placed in an open area in a residence, which has created a high demand for stairs with a sophisticated design, especially with the emergence of air conditioners and open-style living rooms.
Given this history, we would like to take a look at the layout of a residence, taking into consideration the shape, basic structure, way of support, and materials that for define a space. Moreover, we are introducing 9 residences which accomplished the unique stairs, harmonizing with the space.
M・M Residence Architect : ESPREX INC. ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN
Nishinomiya city in Hyogo prefecture is situated in the Kansai region. M・M residence /office stands on a steeply-inclined hill lush with greenery. This huge plot of land is approximately 1,100m2, and on the northwest side is a bamboo grove, and the northeast side is facing the river with three waterfalls. It is a great location with a town view on the southeast side. Architect Koichi Nakai employed split-levels to ensure a large floor space in these limited conditions. The difference of elevation was made to encompass be about half the floor and the rooms are connected by stairs. Almost no partitions were established so the space is divided by split-levels. The residence was created to be one-room space connected in three dimensions.
There are six staircases connecting each split-level and each staircase has different designs. The staircase leading from the living room to the dining room consists of a slope floor with steel boards inserted to accentuate the continuity of the two spaces. The stairs from the dining room to the bedroom are made of steel boards painted in white, and look like steel stair treads are floating in the air. Since this staircase consists of only steel boards, one can see through them, giving a nice view of the outdoors.
In addition, an 800mm slit-like window was established between the first and second floors, going around the building in a continuous fashion. Through this window, the landscape on the southeast side can be enjoyed from anywhere in the residence. As you go up the stairs, the surrounding nature view subtly changes and you can have a refreshed feeling.