11 Modern Stairways That Do Way More Than Just Connect Floors

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By Byron Loker
More than just a means of getting from A to B, stairways can add architectural interest to a home with just a little lateral—or vertical—thinking.

Here are a few graphic, curvy, and layered examples that put modern twists on the ancient form.

1. Vancouver Design Studio

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 Tucked away just east of Vancouver’s Railtown district is the office of Burnkit, a creative agency that values the importance of a well-designed workspace. The staircase has a floating metal landing that connects to a fir plywood wall.

 Tucked away just east of Vancouver’s Railtown district is the office of Burnkit, a creative agency that values the importance of a well-designed workspace. The staircase has a floating metal landing that connects to a fir plywood wall.

This flower shop, art gallery, and home for two looks like the simplest of cubes. A spiral staircase efficiently links all three floors. With no interior doors, Yurika can keep an ear on the shop from upstairs while maintaining the privacy of her home with the help of the vertical distance.

This flower shop, art gallery, and home for two looks like the simplest of cubes. A spiral staircase efficiently links all three floors. With no interior doors, Yurika can keep an ear on the shop from upstairs while maintaining the privacy of her home with the help of the vertical distance.

 Designed to read like a piece of furniture, this staircase features handsome wood steps and a metal railing. Balaban flipped the traditional hierarchy of the house and placed bedrooms on the ground floor and living spaces on the second story.  

 Designed to read like a piece of furniture, this staircase features handsome wood steps and a metal railing. Balaban flipped the traditional hierarchy of the house and placed bedrooms on the ground floor and living spaces on the second story.  

Space4Architects created a serene and fluid space on the Upper West Side. Shown here is the Piranesian view that looks upwards through the central stair to the top floor skylight.

Space4Architects created a serene and fluid space on the Upper West Side. Shown here is the Piranesian view that looks upwards through the central stair to the top floor skylight.

Inspired by tansu chests and raw materials that show patina, a pair of Sydney-based architects renovated their own home—slowly. The steel-and-wood stairs lead to the master bedroom and study.

Inspired by tansu chests and raw materials that show patina, a pair of Sydney-based architects renovated their own home—slowly. The steel-and-wood stairs lead to the master bedroom and study.

Architect Sven Matt mixed basic shapes with rich details in this Austrian home. An unadorned spruce wood staircase leads to the upper level.

Architect Sven Matt mixed basic shapes with rich details in this Austrian home. An unadorned spruce wood staircase leads to the upper level.

In a former fisherman’s cottage outside Copenhagen, a young family has carved out a cozy, light-filled home. 

In a former fisherman’s cottage outside Copenhagen, a young family has carved out a cozy, light-filled home. 

A sculptural white steel spiral staircase with wooden treads connects two levels.

A sculptural white steel spiral staircase with wooden treads connects two levels.

Teaming up with architect Craig Steely, an industrial designer and a mechanical engineer find just the right design for a striking home on a San Francisco hill. The trip from garage to first floor is through a wood-clad spiral staircase that resembles a giant slatted barrel.

Teaming up with architect Craig Steely, an industrial designer and a mechanical engineer find just the right design for a striking home on a San Francisco hill. The trip from garage to first floor is through a wood-clad spiral staircase that resembles a giant slatted barrel.

Behind an unassuming 19th-century facade in Singapore's Joo Chiat neighborhood, Ching Ian and Yang Yeo's renovation of a typical shophouse venerates tradition while looking squarely to the future. Yeo descends the spiral staircase that connects the public and private spaces while Ian relaxes on a pair of Cappellini Superlight 750 sofas designed by Barber Osgerby.  

Behind an unassuming 19th-century facade in Singapore's Joo Chiat neighborhood, Ching Ian and Yang Yeo's renovation of a typical shophouse venerates tradition while looking squarely to the future. Yeo descends the spiral staircase that connects the public and private spaces while Ian relaxes on a pair of Cappellini Superlight 750 sofas designed by Barber Osgerby.  

In the city's Villeray neighborhood, a cramped structure is recast as an open work-play space for a young family. The stairs are practically hidden behind a slatted ash screen that supports steel bookshelves.

In the city's Villeray neighborhood, a cramped structure is recast as an open work-play space for a young family. The stairs are practically hidden behind a slatted ash screen that supports steel bookshelves.