Architects are increasingly designing staircases that double as seating, allowing office workers to congregate between floors, circulation to be turned into event space and homeowners to curl up with a book on the landing. Here are some of our favourite stair/seating configurations (+ slideshow).
Steps with deep treads and high risers are incorporated into traditional staircases, often to one side of the thoroughfare.
In informal working environments, such as data storage company Evernote's offices in Silicon Valley, employees are encouraged to stop and chat on the padded side of the staircase.
Extra-wide staircases can also provide seating for auditoriums in schools and public buildings. The climbing wooden floor of a Bratislava book store is just one example.
In libraries, shelves can be integrated into the risers so visitors can sit down with a book.
Chunky steps are ideal in spaces for children, where large steps become extra play surfaces and stages for shows.
Tiered platforms that are even larger, three steps deep and high, can even be used as places to nap.
We've also published a South Korean house where a slide is incorporated into the giant steps and a residential project that features stairs you can sit on both internally and externally.
Outdoor stairs with deep treads and low risers, often referred to as bleachers, are also regularly used as temporary seating when public spaces are turned into performance venues.
These make-shift arenas vary from small open-air theatres to elaborate landscaping projects, such as 3XN's cultural centre in Molde, Norway, where stairs climb up over the roof to a viewing platform.
"By using steps instead of traditional seats, the atmosphere becomes more informal," 3XN creative director Kim Herforth Nielsen told Dezeen. "People use the [Plassen Cultural Centre] to meet and hang out on a daily basis just as much as they come there for live performances. By turning the building into an integrated part of the public square it becomes more than a building. It turns into a piece of land art, which adds an extra dimension to the place and generates life."
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