Residential Design – Extruded Staircase

Hello viewers,
The idea for this house came from taking a modern detail and applying it to traditional design. I wanted to create a house where the staircase was pulled out from inside the shell of the house and put on display. This type of detail is common in modern houses where you have a stair tower enclosed by a curtain system, but it is almost never done in traditional design. A large window is at most the attention a staircase would receive if you were designing a colonial or shingle style house. I took cues from the work of McKim Mead & White, the masters of neoclassical revival in their treatment of chimneys in particular as a source of inspiration. Stamford White’s design of the chimney on the James Hampden Robb house (1885) weaves the chimney in and out of the facade to great effect.

Chimney detail on the James Hampden Robb house
I ended up using this weaving technique with my staircase. My showcased stairwell was further highlighted by patina copper paneling making it the focal-point of the facade.

My stair detail also subtly references even older architectural traditions mimicking the appearance of the triglyphs in a Doric order entablature. Notice the negative space between the windows in the stair tower and the pattern of the lower windows at the stair landing.

The Doric Order

While the staircase may have been the primary focus, other spaces in the house are also noteworthy. I created a sunken courtyard between the 3-car garage and main house with its own outdoor fireplace. It makes a great place to have an outdoor meal. The house also has a dramatic in-ground pool and spa with its own pool house. There are 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bath with each bedroom having its own deck. There are a total of 4 fireplaces in the house as well as a 3-season porch. Below are photos of the individual spaces.

Image Gallery

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