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Architecture | Topics | Magazine 4/2014

Purposeful consolidation: Stair Case Study Houses (I)

The Hamburg architect Gerd Streng offers individual solutions for making the most of the space in existing houses. In view of soaring rent prices in large cosmopolitan cities, he searches for spatial resources within the four walls of people's homes and creates additional room by means of "slight but purposeful reorganisation of the basic structure". In close consultation with the occupants, he devises surprising staircase solutions that are not only functionally inventive but also make a strong design statement with considered use of lighting and colour. So far six so-called Stair Case Study Houses have come about. The SCSH 01 and SCSH 02 projects are described as follows.

Stair Case Study Houses, Gerd Streng

Photos: Uwe Scholz


Stair Case Study House 01

Situation:
A three-room flat on the first floor of a picturesque backyard building in Hamburg's Eimsbüttel district had become too small. Accordingly the flat below was purchased for a duplex solution.

Stair Case Study House 01 by Gerd Streng, seating furniture

Stair Case Study House 01, seating furniture, photos: Uwe Scholz

Measure:
Both storeys have now been connected with a newly-inserted sculpture-like staircase, which leads down to a U-shaped built-in banquette on the ground floor. The bedrooms and children's rooms and the main bathroom are located on the private upper floor (about 80 m²). The ground floor, having been completely gutted and refashioned, is now a living room complete with a new kitchen and dining area. The built-in furniture comprises a sideboard, storage area and couch in one, and all other fitted units, including the half-landings, are equipped with drawer elements.

The stair treads are painted white and lead down to the white furniture of the living room, while the yellow risers merge in their upward movement with the monochrome yellow staircase walls. An opening provided a laminated glass-reinforced polyester grating (GRP) illuminates the interior of the staircase during the day and has the character of a shining window at night.

Stair Case Study House 01 by Gerd Streng

Stair Case Study House 01

Stair Case Study House 01 by Gerd Streng

Photos: Uwe Scholz

Stair Case Study House 01 by Gerd Streng

Stair Case Study House 01

Stair Case Study House 01 by Gerd Streng

Photos: Uwe Scholz

Project data

User: private (family of 5)
Architect: Gerd Streng
Structural planning: assmann beraten und planen

Location: 20253 Hamburg, Germany
Site: 911 m²
Usable space: ground floor 37.0 m², first floor 78.5 m², total 115.5 m²
Cost: Euro 45,000 without client's performance


Stair Case Study House 02

Situation:
A classical detached house built in 1939 required energy-efficiency rehabilitation and adaptation to the spatial requirements of a family of four. The changes were limited to a few selective interventions marked as such in orange. 

Stair Case Study House 01 by Gerd Streng

The well-lit staircase opening seen from above, complete with a walk-on trapdoor made of covered glass-reinforced polyester grating, and a bench radiator. Photo: Uwe Scholz

Measure:
A new staircase has been installed to provide access to the previously unused high-pitched attic, and was created by taking space from one of the two children's rooms. Originally reached by a ladder, the attic now accommodates a complete bedroom incorporating high-quality fitted furniture. The house's net floor space has thus been increased from about 98 m² to approx. 115 m².

Stair Case Study House 01 by Gerd Streng, upper floor plan and attic

Stair Case Study House 02, upper floor plan and attic, Diagram: Gerd Streng

Spatial constraints and the existing tie beams of the roof and ceiling structure required a new interpretation of the classical type of spiral staircase. The imaginary newel has a diagonal axis, and the occupants move up and down around it in a passage-like space. The sculpture-like wooden staircase, which has first and last treads of identical width, manages with just a quarter of the floor space normally required by a traditional spiral staircase. Painted in orange, it corresponds to the orange flooring of the attic.

Stair Case Study House 01 by Gerd Streng, orange stairs

Stair Case Study House 02

Stair Case Study House 01 by Gerd Streng, orange stairs

Photos: Uwe Scholz

Stair Case Study House 01 by Gerd Streng

Stair Case Study House 02, diagram: Gerd Streng

Stair Case Study House 01 by Gerd Streng

Stair Case Study House 02, diagram: Gerd Streng

Stair Case Study House 01 by Gerd Streng, view into the attic

Stair Case Study House 02, attic

Stair Case Study House 01 by Gerd Streng, view into the attic

Photos: Uwe Scholz

The built-in furniture up in the attic fits exactly into one of the gables, where a small window has gained a deep tapered reveal with a shiny high-gloss lacquered finish. Folding sliding doors and drawer-in-drawer elements provide optimum storage space.

Stair Case Study House 01 by Gerd Streng, furniture in the attic

Stair Case Study House 02, furniture in the attic, Photos: Uwe Scholz

Project data

User: private (family of four)   
Architect: Gerd Streng  
Structural consulting: Mark Lyczynski, Lüneburg
Lighting consulting: Marc Nelson Lichtdesign

Location: 22525 Hamburg, Germany
Site: 662 m²
Usable space: ground floor 59.5 m², upper floor 37.9 m², attic 15 m², total 112.4 m²
Gross floor area: 156 m²
Cost refurbishment: Euro 140,000 without client's performance

 

More projects on this topic in DETAIL 4/2014 "Stairs, Ramps, Lifts"

Von Peter Popp
24.04.2014

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