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A staircase of folded steel plate

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working details

At the heart of the house is a large masonry-built fireplace which divides the sitting room from the kitchen - a doubleheight space with a first floor gallery running along one wall.

The rear wall of the chimney breast supports a cantilevered staircase which rises along it to give access to the gallery and the adjacent en suite master bedroom.

The staircase consists of a 4mm-thick steel plate carriage, folded to form treads and risers.

It is 740mm wide and welded to a 10mm steel string that is secured to the chimney breast with M12 resin bolts. The folded plate cantilever spans from ground floor to landing so that the forces act together to achieve stability.

The 40mm-thick European oak treads are secured from below with recessed head screw fixings (all slot heads neatly aligned), and project over the outer edge of the folded steel carriage. The resulting problem - how to fix the balustrade - was solved by another cantilever. Three 75 x 15mm steel flats are welded to the wall string as baluster supports; they project below, and free of, the folded steel plate and turn up beyond the treads to form 65 x 15mm balusters. A continuous 65 x 10mm handrail is welded to the balusters.

A balustrade of 3mm stainless steel wire rope, obtained from a local yacht chandlery, is secured by 'standard special' hammer swage fittings with angled countersunk stand off washers.

All steelwork is finished in silver grey micaceous paint and the oak treads are oiled.

In the architect's own words:

'The cantilevered stair takes flight off the chimney and aims to make the owner's ascent to bed each night a minor ascent to a higher plane.'

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