Floating Perforated Stairs: How-To

Staircases are awesome. Or at least they can be. But an original staircase design often requires a higher level of integration. Fortunately, for the staircase photographed on the front cover of this year’s Modern Home Lookbook, we had a great team with Matty at Aryze Developments, Dan at RJC Engineering, and Dave at Zapco Fabrication. […]

Project photography credit: Franc D'Ambrosio Architecture

Staircases are awesome.

Or at least they can be. But an original staircase design often requires a higher level of integration.

Fortunately, for the staircase photographed on the front cover of this year’s Modern Home Lookbook, we had a great team with Matty at Aryze Developments, Dan at RJC Engineering, and Dave at Zapco Fabrication.

Perhaps the greatest advantage for this team, however, was the client: Atarah, a skilled designer for Urbana Kitchens.  

The design concept was her initiative and it succeeded because she planned appropriately with the Aryze management team. In planning her modest house design, she knew she wanted the staircase to be the feature. So despite a very tight budget, we made sure the feature staircase was prioritized.

When the time came to really figure out the nitty gritty details of how were going to build this thing, we gathered on site. We were making progress on the details but could see heads starting to spin and eyes starting to glaze over.

Quickly we grabbed some pieces of cardboard. Folding them like origami, we were all able to better describe the thoughts in our head. It wasn’t long before we arrived at consensus.

While Zapco prefabricated the perforated sheet metal in their shop, the stairs were laid out on the wall. Following the layout, drywall was removed and angle irons were screwed into solid backing previously framed into wall. The angle irons were covered over with con-fil and drywall mud so that they would disappear.

Structural plates were cut into the subfloor plywood of the second floor landing. This provided something for the stairs to hang off on the room side. They also support the second floor railing – covered up by hardwood flooring they leave the railing with a nice clean minimal look.

Stair sections, pre-bent in the Zapco shop, were brought to site and welded together along with the vertical sheet off which the staircase hangs.

Once welding and detailing was complete, it was sprayed masterfully on site with Macropoxy 646 by Luke from The Painting Dept.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The connection of the vertical sheet to the stairs sheet and the detail around the bottom stair were most tricky details to establish. In execution, the greatest challenge was in the seam between sheets. But the end result was balanced, symmetrical, minimal, and robust.

Most importantly, Atarah and her family love it and it will last for years to come.

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