Beautiful Stairs: Safety Meets Style

A lot of comments in my current ideabooks on stairs hone in on the guardrails — or lack thereof. This looks like a fantastic time to discuss guardrails, not in terms of code, which varies by location and residence, but in their design.

Faced with the prerequisites for a guardrail in an open stair (not enclosed by walls on both sides), what sort of guardrail ought to be used? Which are the ramifications which come from a solid guardrail, a timber , a glass , a guardrail with pickets, one with wires, or a perforated metal ? The illustrations that follow include the sound into the transparent, with a range of effects between.

DeForest Architects

This exceptional stair with perforated steel measures (featured in my ideabook on”artful stairs”) uses solid steel guardrails at the center of the stair. This way they become the antithesis of these lighter measures, which makes them look more secure than their translucency implies.

Logan’s Hammer Building & Renovation

Obviously, one question that might come into mind when thinking of a guardrail is”why not a wall?” This case illustrates that a wall may double as a guardrail — in this instance at exactly the same central place as the previous stair — while the stair remains relatively open. Here that result is aided by open risers.

Schwartz and Architecture

This stair combines a translucent glass wall with timber guardrails; the latter matches the measures quite well and has a nice abstract quality from the easy construction.

Solid guardrails, be they wood or metal, may also be made porous through cuts. This curving stair — easily among the most tasteful on Houzz — is a gorgeous design that bridges art nouveau and modern/contemporary design. The flower-like pattern cut in the steel fluctuates from solid to areas with spindly lines, however, the overall effect is of something solid and heavy. Undoubtedly this result is related to the substance, the colour, and also the way in which the steel plates extend past the steps.

Dumican Mosey Architects

Obviously, guardrails don’t have to be completely solid or transparent. This stair and hallway feature a partial-height wall capped by a steel-bar picket railing with a constant wood handrail in addition to This design reduces the extent of the steel railings, so giving the guardrail a little more weight, keeping in line with the rest of the house.

SB Architects

This guardrail uses perforated steel plates to provide a gauzy translucency into the interior of the stair. The result works with the area’s materials and design: wood floors and walls, and perforated metal light fixtures suspended from thick string.

David Vandervort Architects

Another stair with perforated steel guardrails illustrates one particular thing which may happen regardless of substance: The guardrail may be used to fill in the zone out of stringer into stringer. This piece in the foreground acts basically like a wall, but it’s clearly part of this stair, both in terms of design and structure.

David Vandervort Architects

Taking a look at precisely the same stair from the contrary course, one sees the overlapping perforations produce a moiré pattern, in this case very kaleidoscopic.

John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA

More transparent than perforated plates are pickets, vertical railings typically restricted by handrails. This stair proves that the steel bars are in fact L-shaped pieces which also support the timber treads.

John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA

A closer look in precisely the same stair reveals how from particular angles the guardrail can look solid, due to the size and shape of the pickets. View them and they are nearly transparent.

This guardrail includes round pickets that extend out of the steel steps to the ceiling above and the floor below.

PLACE architect ltd..

A few of the following examples feature rods and wires oriented horizontally instead of vertically. This stair combines the vertical and the horizontal by utilizing a woven mesh. In this design the mesh is held inside a framework that”floats” within another frame linking the stair into the steel stringers. It is a detail-intensive design that some may see too occupied, but it’s fitting with all the loft-like space marked by exposed steel joists.

John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA

A fairly popular contemporary solution for guardrails is to use rods or cable which follows the slope of the stair. Compared to vertical pickets, this approach minimizes the amount of bits that must interact with all the stair treads. Here we can see that three vertical supports are mounted into the stair in each run. These bits then obtain the rods that follow the incline.

Birdseye Design

A variation on the horizontal/sloping rods, or in this instance wires, is the angle of those supports. In the previous case they are vertical, but they are perpendicular to the wires. The timber infill piece in the bottom transitions between this angle and the vertical pickets you usually find.

Venegas and Company

Here is another stair with wires in pressure between steel supports. The design of the stair is easy, consisting of two materials: timber for the treads and handrails; steel for the stringers and guardrail/handrail supports. Note the attachment of this paired vertical supports into the surface of the stringers.

Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

Here is another fairly simple cable stair/guardrail with frosted glass treads, steel stringers and guardrail/handrail supports, and also a timber handrail. The very last picks up on the timber mullions and really steals the show; note how the handrail curves and bends to transition from run to run.

Serrano Monjaraz Arquitectos

Cables may also be used vertically, as this stunning example reveals. Here the wires, which extend into the ceiling over, help support treads which are otherwise cantilevered from the wall. Elsewhere glass is used for guardrails, which makes this structure in cable stand out much more.

John Maniscalco Architecture

Along with the last example brings us into the most transparent type of guardrail: clear glass. This stair uses bits which are held in place by the slender steel handrail supports. For safety reasons it’s always good to use tempered glassideally with a laminate to hold the glass in place if it break.

Mark English Architects, AIA

A number of stairs on Houzz utilize glass as complete walls at stairs. Here the glass expands from floor to floor; note the detail in which the glass is pinned into the border of the floor.

BAAN layout

While the previous example positioned a complete wall of glass reverse a solid wall, this stair is located next to a small courtyard. Thus the glass guardrail in the foreground can help to attract daylight from outside to inside.

BAAN layout

Upstairs the glass is no longer full-height; it stops in the height of a normal guardrail to save material and also the expense of using additional glass.

Artful Stairs — Continuity in Steel

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