How a Staircase Can Help Activate an Atrium

In every historical period and architectural style, staircases have been the aesthetic and social heart of a building interior. From the medieval priest relaying a heavenly message from atop a spiraling pulpit to Miamians descending Morris Lapidus’s “staircase to nowhere” to command the attention of partygoers, steps have made the scene. In the 21st century, the staircase is not a perch for a privileged few or a spotlight for one activity, but a kind of elevated public square that welcomes physical use, conversation, and more. The EeSoffit-finished stair located in the atrium of Vreugdenhil Dairy Foods’ new head office in Nijkerk, Netherlands, exemplifies this concept of interactive circulation space. Maas Architecten designed the 30,700-square-foot headquarters, whose interior the company had hoped would facilitate camaraderie and knowledge sharing among employees. To activate the atrium to this end, the architects wended the bright white stair from a reception space to the floor above in a broad sweep; the centerpiece then ascends the remaining three floors in a corkscrew that spirals around a decorative tree. The stair was so large that it had to be hoisted into the building in parts. ...
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