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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Vertebrae Staircase by Andrew Lee McConnell

 
March 16th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Andrew Lee McConnell

Inspired by the spine of a whale, the Vertebrae Staircase is not simply mimicry of organic form but an exploration in shaping structure. Much of the design work went into refining the single component, or vertebra, that mate with each other creating a unified spine running from floor plate to floor plate. These interlocking vertebrae create a rigid and self-supporting structure.

Image Courtesy Andrew Lee McConnell

  • Architects: Andrew Lee McConnell
  • Project: Vertebrae Staircase
  • Software used: The modelling was done in Rhinoceros 3D using the T-Splines plugin

Image Courtesy Andrew Lee McConnell

The outer surface is composed of multiple layers of a durable composite fibre material while inside are the key structural elements. The vertebrae are mated using steel fittings and locked together with steel pins. When all the connections are made, continuous structural spirals run through every vertebra at the hand rail and beside each step, reinforced by structural foam and a network of steel rods.

Image Courtesy Andrew Lee McConnell

Steel plates connected to the slightly modified base and top vertebrae are anchored to the floors. Beyond this, there are no hidden supports as the Vertebrae Staircase is designed to act as one structural element, bearing the loads of its users and transferring these forces to the floor plates. And the pinned connections at the floor plates combined with the connections between vertebrae allow the staircase to successfully resist twisting and rotational forces that result from the cantilevered spiral and cantilevered steps.

Image Courtesy Andrew Lee McConnell

Step, banister and hand railing – I could clearly see all these elements contained within a whale’s vertebrae and spine. The Vertebrae Staircase is a reconfiguration of this familiar form resulting in a unique and functional design.

Image Courtesy Andrew Lee McConnell

Image Courtesy Andrew Lee McConnell

Image Courtesy Andrew Lee McConnell

Image Courtesy Andrew Lee McConnell

Image Courtesy Andrew Lee McConnell

Image Courtesy Andrew Lee McConnell

Image Courtesy Andrew Lee McConnell

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Categories: Rhino, Staircase, T-Splines

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