Purposeful consolidation: Stair Case Study Houses (I)
Text: Peter Popp
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 House 01
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Costrefurbishment: Euro 140,000 without client's performance
More projects on this topic in DETAIL 4/2014 "Stairs, Ramps, Lifts"