Guest Post: The Art of the Stair

Photographer, former architect and longtime creative Jennifer Koskinen shares her love affair with stairs through thoughtful musings and striking photos.

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Entry to “Bridge House,” designed by Tommy Hein Architects; Click here to go to mountainliving.com to see more of this home
My obsession began during a late night section-drawing exercise in architecture school. Pumped full of caffeine, I sketched away, attempting to discover the best way to bring together two disconnected levels of structure. Sometime while I was in the zone, a stair fetish was born.

I’m not talking about the fact that stairs tone your glutes (although that certainly is a nice perk). What fascinates me is how a well designed stair can be so sculpturalâa beautiful expression of architectural repetitionâwhile also serving as a highly functional element in a home. Like sculpture that is designed to be walked on, heard and felt, a staircase is the ultimate celebration of the journey.

As a photographer, I have the distinct pleasure of experiencing some fantastic architectural stairs, and I’d like to share a sampling of them with you in hopes of inspiring your next remodel or design project (or daydream).

My favorite stairs reveal themselves with clues on the exterior of a home, like the ascending window patterns pictured below, or independent structures (two images down) that celebrate other stairways within.

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Providing access to another level of a home presents a wonderful design opportunity for an architect. The experience of the movement itself becomes fun with a well designed and detailed stair. Even the limitations of function (rise/run/structural demands) can provide a springboard for designs from stark to whimsical.

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“Bridge House” by Tommy Hein Architects; Click here to go to mountainliving.com to see more of this home

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Left: Private residence in Telluride, Colorado, by One Architects | Right: Private residence in Mountain Village, Colorado, by One Architects
For more photos of handsome staircases, you’ll just have to stay tuned. Until then, happy climbing…

All photos © Jennifer Koskinen | merrittdesignphoto.com

Categories: Mountain Living