The Architecture and Beyond of Tread and Riser

Sai Sanath

Abstract


The primary constitution of stairs is the arrangement of horizontal and vertical measures known as tread and riser. This is the simplest arrangement that essentially conveys people from one level to the other with required comfort and safety. Steps are a universal symbol with multiple interpretations. They are the most generally used similes in art, philosophy and psychology. Stairs occupy a unique status in the built environment because they not only convey people, but also symbolize the psychological, spiritual and artistic aspects of human nature. The mental significance and symbolic connotations of steps are deeply rooted. Understanding the role of stairs in different spheres of human need and expression is crucial in approaching its design. The pattern of stairs is dependent on the type of materials and other related design considerations. It is one of the unique architectural entities that reflect the various facets of social, psychological, artistic, metaphysical and religious dimensions. The importance of physical activity in the rising sedentary life styles is linked to the design of building elements, especially the staircases. The advancement in technology has displaced the role of stairs into an inconsequential means of emergency escape. But the importance of physical activity in the rising sedentary lifestyle has revitalized the concept of stairs as an active building component. The mono functional approach to staircases in high-rise buildings, especially as the means of escape in emergency situations, indicates that the design of staircases as multi functional element is still under the confines of design explorations. This paper is an attempt to understand the concept of stairs not only from the evolutionary point of view, but also the associated metaphoric meanings and its emerging multi facet identity. The concept of vertical accessibility in the form of tread and riser arrangement makes stairs a timeless phenomenon. The approach to multi utility architectural elements stretches beyond physical functions and should integrate the various dimensions of space making and society. In this regard stairs are a pioneering entity that has a potential to relate to many spheres of human thinking. It is clearly evident that stairs are not bound within the confines of architecture. Their origin, utility and design have far more influential qualities that travel beyond the realms of function and symbolism. It is further discussed that in the present age stairs have become as an inspiration for physical well being. The issues involved with age based capabilities demand a certain design approach that satisfies the sensitive relation between built environments and building elements.

The primary constitution of stairs is the arrangement of horizontal and vertical measures known as tread and riser. This is the simplest arrangement that essentially conveys people from one level to the other with required comfort and safety. Steps are a universal symbol with multiple interpretations. They are the most generally used similes in art, philosophy and psychology. Stairs occupy a unique status in the built environment because they not only convey people, but also symbolize the psychological, spiritual and artistic aspects of human nature. The mental significance and symbolic connotations of steps are deeply rooted. Understanding the role of stairs in different spheres of human need and expression is crucial in approaching its design. The pattern of stairs is dependent on the type of materials and other related design considerations. It is one of the unique architectural entities that reflect the various facets of social, psychological, artistic, metaphysical and religious dimensions. The importance of physical activity in the rising sedentary life styles is linked to the design of building elements, especially the staircases. The advancement in technology has displaced the role of stairs into an inconsequential means of emergency escape. But the importance of physical activity in the rising sedentary lifestyle has revitalized the concept of stairs as an active building component. The mono functional approach to staircases in high-rise buildings, especially as the means of escape in emergency situations, indicates that the design of staircases as multi functional element is still under the confines of design explorations. This paper is an attempt to understand the concept of stairs not only from the evolutionary point of view, but also the associated metaphoric meanings and its emerging multi facet identity. The concept of vertical accessibility in the form of tread and riser arrangement makes stairs a timeless phenomenon. The approach to multi utility architectural elements stretches beyond physical functions and should integrate the various dimensions of space making and society. In this regard stairs are a pioneering entity that has a potential to relate to many spheres of human thinking. It is clearly evident that stairs are not bound within the confines of architecture. Their origin, utility and design have far more influential qualities that travel beyond the realms of function and symbolism. It is further discussed that in the present age stairs have become as an inspiration for physical well being. The issues involved with age based capabilities demand a certain design approach that satisfies the sensitive relation between built environments and building elements.


Keywords


Analogy, Pattern, Perception, Riser, Tread

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References


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