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Contemporary Staircases

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Catherine Slessor.Mitchell Beazley, 2000. 176pp. £30

In this well-illustrated book Catherine Slessor presents some 50 staircases, almost all from the past 10 years, though Mendelsohn & Chermayeff 's De la Warr Pavilion (1935) sneaks in, courtesy of John McAslan's recent restoration. Slessor is managing editor of the Architectural Review and her selection is suitably international, ranging from the UK work of Grimshaw, Jiricna and Future Systems to Moneo's Kursaal in San Sebastian, Holl's Kiasma Museum in Helsinki, and a Tokyo house by Kiyoshi Kasai. Steel, concrete, timber and glass are deployed with flair; but at times the book seems uncertain of its audience.While it looks to be packaged for a general readership, Slessor often supplies a more specialist level of detail (for example, dimensions of components), but a lack of adequate drawings undermines her text. Pictured is Foster and Partners' staircase at the Carre d'Art, Nimes, 1993.

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