Monday, August 2, 2010

Upstairs Downstairs..An Update

A Crazy New Staircase. I love the look of it but not sure I'd climb it without a rail. I'm sure its not finished, I hope. Of course you can see from an old post that the idea is hardly new.

From Gizmodo: "These are the stairs of the new Salvador Dalí museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. Encased in 18-inch thick concrete walls, it can resist a 165mph Category 5 hurricane without blinking.The director of the museum says that the architecture "combines elements of the classical and the fantastical," like Dalí's own work. I will believe it when everything is covered in gold and time begins to melt. [Archdaily]

I have always had a love of staircases and thought that this would make a great subject for a posting here at Homer's Odd. My first memory of a staircase was of course sitting at the the top of the front hall stairs while the folks were having a party down below and wanting to be a part of all the fun until being told upon being caught, to get back to bed.

Staircases are grand and sweeping or they can be narrow and steep. Each design has it's own purpose and reason. The classic television series "Upstairs Downstairs," showed the importance of the staircase in Edwardian London.

Staircases are escapes or the route to love.

In my travels around the world, I have seen and climbed some great staircases. Starting from the Acropolis to St. Peter's, to Borobodur and Buckingham Palace.

These steps have always captured a greater moment in my memory than the place itself. It made me think. Why are stairs so important? A few thoughts come to mind. When climbing a new staircase you are rising, you are entering. It is unknown, it is a new experience. Your heart beats a bit faster, your eyes widen, the stairs are the cause.

Staircases are simply a functional architectural necessity to get you from one level to the next. They do however transcend their purpose in so many ways. They can denote class stratifications, they are pulpits, lecterns, they are structures used for grand ceremonial occasions.They are places of historic importance, they are the place where time changes. They are the spot where once your little girl bounced down in her pj's to where she threw her bouquet on her wedding day.

Staircases are where inaugurations are held or great civil rights speeches are given. I believe we choose staircases to hold these important functions because they symbolize transcendence. They allow the speaker and the audience to believe that we can achieve what is spoken. That is what makes stairs important. Be they wooden or marble I love to climb them. Here are a few pictures of great staircases.

Angor Wat

A Crazy Staircase

Grand Central Station New York City

Tulip Staircase Queens House Greenwich

Buckingham Palace Grand Staircase

Bovolostaircase Venice

Chambord by Da Vinci

The Exorcist Staircase, Georgetown

The Titanic Staircase

Survivors Staircase World Trade Center