Stepping up

The highpoint of stair building craft is a geometric stair. HAA has recently designed one of these masterpieces for an addition to an old country house.

For the uninitiated, a geometric stair can be identified by three features – it is set out on geometric principles, the handrail is continuous and the well is round or elliptical. The stair is open underneath and appears to hang off the wall.

This particular geometric stair was built by Wayne Mavin of Fine Bespoke Joinery. Built out of responsibly harvested Australian cedar, the construction of the staircase required detailed three-dimensional geometry, laminating, sophisticated jointing, carving and turning. The multitude of pieces was then transported to the site to be assembled in a purpose built stairwell. The stair is currently being installed by Wayne.

It’s a rare opportunity to see a staircase like this in construction, so the HAA architectural staff had an excursion to the workshop to observe the work in progress. This geometric stair was one of two staircases designed for this project, the second stair being the more common “open newell”, that is, with posts and a rectangular stairwell.