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The Staircase

The Architecture of Ascent

Oscar Tusquets Blanca, Martine Diot


A wonderfully photographed survey of a fabulous invention that combines form and function beautifully


The essential purpose of a staircase is utilitarian: to facilitate ascent and descent. Yet the design of even the simplest stair is complex, requiring great knowledge, skill and ingenuity.

This volume showcases the astonishing diversity of staircases over the centuries, from the stepped pyramids of the Maya to the exquisitely proportioned stairs of the Renaissance, to the elaborate balustraded confections of the Baroque period, to the virtuosic, computer-aided designs of today. A superb range of photographs, many specially taken for this publication, illustrates clear and accessible written surveys by specialist architectural historians. From Renaissance masterpieces, the sweeping curves of Art Nouveau, the functional beauty of the Bauhaus, to high-tech contemporary dream creations, the staircase is a powerful emblem of technological and artistic achievement. Architectural tours de force all, often charged with religious, mystical and hierarchical meaning, these staircases are inherently dynamic, as is every page of this fascinating and beautifully illustrated book.

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 33.0 x 24.5 cm

Extent: 240 pp

Illustrations: 324

Publication date: 4 November 2013

ISBN: 9780500517093

Contents List

Requiem for the Staircase • Introduction: Oscar Tusquets Blanca • A Lesson in Architecture: 12th–16th century, Martine Diot • Theatre of Power: 17th–18th century, Adelaïde de Savray • Apotheosis of Ornament: 19th century, Jérôme Coignard • From Art Nouveau to the Present Day: 20th–21st century, Jean Dethier

About the Author

Oscar Tusquets Blanca is an architect, designer, painter, writer and curator.

Martine Diot is head of information studies at the Centre for Research on Historical Monuments in Paris.

List of Contributors

Adelaïde de Savray, Jérôme Coignard, Jean Dethier

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