Architects love staircases, and this year we've seen all kinds – from smooth concrete curves and twisting corkscrews, to structures built from reclaimed wood and rusty steel. Dezeen's architecture editor Amy Frearson has selected 10 of the best.
This cast-concrete staircase is the centrepiece of a 200-year-old workers' cottage that the founders of Prague-based A1 Architects remodelled as their own home and studio.
The structure sits at the intersection between the old stone building and a timber-framed extension. "The staircase is the junction point of the house," said architect Lenka Kremenova.
The concrete was set against timber, and the marks of the boards are visible on the curved underside of the staircase. Find out about A1 House and Studio »
Porto-based Correia/Ragazzi Arquitectos demolished part of a floor slab to create this sculptural U-shaped staircase inside an existing apartment in Portugal, and it rests over a geometric tiled floor.
Comprising thick white balustrades and wooden treads, the stairs lead up from the living space to a trio of bedrooms.
"The stair is the unifying element of both floors and the focal point of the entire apartment," the architects told Dezeen. Find out more about Apartment in Braga »
The cartoon-style woodgrain prints on the staircase of this London home reveal the identity of its occupant. London-based dRMM designed the residence for Richard Woods, and were keen to inject some of the artist's character into the design.
Woods' trademark graphics have been applied across each of the treads that make up the timber staircase, in a rainbow of colours that range from pale pink and white to bold shades of red, blue and green. Find out more about WoodBlock House »
Unsurprisingly, this staircase that only has a handrail on its upper section was designed for the home of a couple without any children, in Cancún, Mexico.
The precast concrete staircase connects the ground and first floors of the residence, which was designed by Mexican studio Warm Architects.
It twists back on itself, so that is appears to be made up of two parts, and its raw concrete floor surfaces contrast with the bright white balustrade that flanks its upper section. Find out more about Garcia's House »
The staircase in this house is actually pretty straightforward – its just a simple steel corkscrew – but architect Takeshi Hosaka chose to drive it through a series of trough-shaped floors.
Hosaka added the ramped floor slabs to make the most of space in the building whilst maintaining privacy for residents. Circular holes were made in the sloping sections of the floor, and the triangular treads of the staircase rise up through. Find out more about House in Byobugaura »
One of the grandest staircases in our top 10 is this twisting structure that Zecc Architecten used to transform an old water tower into an observation point, overlooking the marshes of a Dutch national park.
There are actually three staircases inside the tower, which lead visitors up to a viewing platform 45 metres above the ground.
Constructed from oriented strand board (OSB) – an engineered material made from compressed wooden strands – the new staircases offer a warm contrast to the stark concrete of the tower. Find out more about Viewpoint Sint Jansklooster »
This minimal staircase comprises little more than a series of reclaimed wooden planks that have been cantilevered out from a wall.
Portuguese studio Atelier Data designed the staircase for a new house in Lisbon, where it leads up to the master bedroom. It continues the aesthetic of the building's facade, which features a row of vertically standing railway sleepers. Find out more about Varatojo House »
Many architects and designers were involved in designing the eclectic interior of Canberra's Hotel Hotel, but March Studio made a big impact with its design for the lobby, which features a grand staircase surrounded by thousands of pieces of recycled wood.
Each tread of the staircase is made up of three different types of glue-laminated timber, and is camouflaged against the many wooden strips fixed to the surrounding walls and ceiling.
Longer lengths of timber protrude from the middle of the staircase to frame an illuminated central balustrade. Find out more about Hotel Hotel Canberra lobby »
The white steel staircase suspended in the centre of this renovated Oslo loft is completed by a piece of wooden furniture that also functions as a chest of drawers and a window seat.
Using a combination of open risers and a balustrade made up of slender vertical supports, the staircase forms a transparent partition between a kitchen and lounge in the home designed by London studio Haptic. Find out more about Idunsgate Apartment »
The last staircase in our top 10 doesn't actually lead anywhere. Designed by Dutch firm NEXT Architects, the Corten steel structure appears to create a continuous pathway, but it's actually impossible to walk all the way around.
The form is based on the single-surface volume of a Möbius strip, meaning the surface of the pathway wraps around onto its underside, making it impossible for a person to follow the route without defying the laws of gravity.
"Based on the principal of the Möbius strip, the continuous route of the stair is a delusion – upside becomes underside becomes upside," said the architects. Find out more about The Elastic Perspective »