A staircase is not just a way of getting from one floor to another. The stair is itself a space, a volume, a part of the building; and unless this space is made to live, it will be a dead spot, and work to disconnect the building and to tear its processes apart.


Place the main stair in a key position, central and visible. Treat the whole staircase as a room (or if it is outside, as a courtyard). Arrange it so that the stair and the room are one, with the stair coming down around one or two walls of the room. Flare out the bottom of the stair with open windows or balustrades and with wide steps so that the people coming down the stair become part of the action in the room while they are on the stair, and so that people below will naturally use the stair for seats.

… if the entrances are in position - Main Entrance (110); and the pattern of movement through the building is established - The Flow Through Rooms (131), Short Passages (132), the main stairs must be put in and given an appropriate social character.

Treat the bottom steps as Stair Seats (125); provide a window or a view half-way up the stair, both to light the stair and to create a natural focus of attention - Zen View (134), Tapestry of Light and Dark (135); remember to calculate the length and shape of the stair while you are working out its position - Staircase Volume (195). Get the final shape of the staircase room and the beginnings of its construction from The Shape of Indoor Space (191)

Reference for full-text of Pattern: p. 637low-confidence