Special feature: stairs
you can sit on

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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).

Evernote by Studio O+A
Evernote by Studio O+A

Steps with deep treads and high risers are incorporated into traditional staircases, often to one side of the thoroughfare.

Evernote by Studio O+A
Evernote by Studio O+A

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.

Gangjin Children's Centre by JYA-RCHITECTS

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.

Alexis by Martin Jančok and Aleš Šedivec
Alexis by Martin Jančok and Aleš Šedivec

In libraries, shelves can be integrated into the risers so visitors can sit down with a book.

Sjötorget Kindergarten by Rotstein Arkitekter
Sjötorget Kindergarten by Rotstein Arkitekter

Chunky steps are ideal in spaces for children, where large steps become extra play surfaces and stages for shows.

House in Casavells by 05 AM Arquitectura
House in Casavells by 05 AM Arquitectura

Tiered platforms that are even larger, three steps deep and high, can even be used as places to nap.

Panorama House by Moon Hoon
Panorama House by Moon Hoon

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.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office
Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

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.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office
Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

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.

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN
Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

"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."

Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN
Plassen Cultural Centre by 3XN

We recently compiled a selection of combined bookshelves and staircases and also ran a slideshow of houses with ground floors that open up to the garden.

  • gbane bacary

    Waou is an amazing architect and designer who has solved a problem by creating stairs that allow for incredible storage.

  • Super8ten

    These are great.

  • JamesA

    KSA “Big Steps” @theOSU