Some architecture firms look at a staircase and see nothing more than function. Not us.
Our design of the Wencel Building incorporated a below-grade public courtyard and office space. But, with the benefit of gaining additional floor area came an interesting design problem: How do you have a below grade public courtyard that will draw pedestrians from the street above, and at the same time make the courtyard feel safe and active?
STUDIO utilized a variety of design elements such as pedestrian paths through the courtyard that made a cross block connection, patios at different levels and view corridors from different angles, all culminating together at the grand staircase from the street above.
So, the focus then became what to do with the staircase.
“We knew this staircase had to be something special,” said Aldo Sebben, STUDIO’s director of design. “It had to be more than just a beautiful stair, it had to draw people into the courtyard, engage the public and make them want to stay.”
The solution? Turn the staircase into an interactive art light installation.
Working with AE Design group, Rocky Mountain Lighting Company and JVA Structural Engineers, the team came up with the concept that as each stair tread was stepped on the lighting would change to reflect individual’s movement on the grand staircase. To achieve this interactivity the team mounted custom LED modules in the nose of each tread and IR sensors in the railing that detect movement at each stair allowing the lighting to change based on a custom written lighting program.
“The true beauty of this design solution is that the staircase lighting can be changed, based on the time of day or even the calendar day, truly anything is possible,” said Sebben. “We incorporated a few surprises into the lighting programing, based on the number of people on the stair, time of the day and a few others.”
The interactivity will keep the staircase fresh and new to the public, will certainly create buzz around downtown and will become a sightseeing destination to downtown tourists. STUDIO is proud of our design team and can’t wait to see the staircase in action.
Further proof that our inspired designs achieve brilliant results.