12 Days of Stairways

Mysteriously, a designer’s best opportunities often come hand in hand with the most intractable problems in their representation: great staircases are always the hardest to draw.

However the draughtsman approaches them, neither plan nor section will ever adequately reflect what exists in the imagination, or that needs to be communicated to client and builder. Is this collision of graphic convention, intractable architectonics and subjective human movement perhaps instead a secret partnership, uneasy but productive? Whether in two dimensions or in three, the most interesting staircase is often the one that leads – appears to lead – us nowhere.

– Niall Hobhouse

We’re celebrating Christmas and marking the end of 2019 with 12 days of stairways. Each day on Instagram we reveal a detail from a drawing in the collection. The full sheet is then presented below.

Day 1

boston.3212.1.jpg – Drawing Matter

Charles Boston (*), Design for an oval spiral staircase, elevation and plan, 1857. Pencil, pen, ink and wash on wove paper watermarked Blacons, 595 × 412 mm.

Day 2

paris.1084.17.jpg – Drawing Matter

Pierre Adrien Paris (*), f.16v - 17r, plan and elevation of house, staircase plans, 1770. pen and ink, 370 × 250 mm.

Day 3

fretton_2886.1_cs_dmc.jpg – Drawing Matter

Tony Fretton (*1945), Lisson 2 Stair Details, 1991 – 1992. Ink on trace, 298 × 420 mm.

Day 4

#117_loos_2947.1_cs_white.jpg – Drawing Matter

Adolf Loos (1870–1933), Adolf Loos Plan and Section of the Tristan Tzara House, Paris, 1925 – 1926. TBC, 342 × 345 mm.

Day 5

butterfield_1114.10(crop)_cs_dmc.jpg – Drawing Matter

William Butterfield (1814–1900), Section through Inner Hall & Staircase looking East, 1880 – 1883. pen, ink & wash, 560 × 1010 mm.

Day 6

Michael Webb, Sin Centre ramp and pedestrian systems, 1961, DM 1101.17 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Michael Webb (*1937), Sin Centre, Leicester Square, London, diagram of car ramp and pedestrian circulation systems, 1961. Pencil, type and collage on board, 280 × 215 mm.

Day 7

Hector Horeau, Design for converting La Madeleine to an omnibus office, 9 April 1871, DM 1968 – Drawing Matter

Hector Horeau (1801–1872), Design for converting La Madeleine to an omnibus office, 9 April 1871. Pencil, pen and ink on reverse of title page of publication by Horeau, 615 × 450 mm.

Day 8

adam_1504.9.jpg – Drawing Matter

Robert Adam (*), plans, elevations and sections from portfolio, bound, section of house with Grand Stair, 1758. black ink, pink and grey wash, 500 × 650 mm.

Day 9

mantano.1542.5.jpg – Drawing Matter

Giovanni Battista Montano (1534–1621), 8 page album with 20 drawings of architectural studies, late 16th to early 17th century, 1570 – 1620. brown ink and brown wash, 245 × 143 mm.

Day 10

Robert Mylne, Powderhall, near Edinburgh, c. 1780, DM 2643 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Robert Mylne (1733–1811), Powderhall, near Edinburgh, c. 1780. Pen and ink and watercolour on laid paper, 465 × 315 mm.

Day 11

gandy_1356_cs_dmc.jpg – Drawing Matter

Joseph Gandy (*), View of the Scala Regia, 1823. pencil and watercolour, 500 × 325 mm.

Day 12

atcost_drawingmatter_1.jpg – Drawing Matter

Clancy Moore Architects (*), Atcost barn, Shatwell, 2019. Photograph.

atcost_drawingmatter_2.jpg – Drawing Matter

Clancy Moore Architects (*), Atcost barn, Shatwell, 2019. Photograph.

atcost_drawingmatter_3.jpg – Drawing Matter

Clancy Moore Architects (*), Atcost barn, Shatwell, 2019. Photograph.

atcost_drawingmatter_4.jpg – Drawing Matter

Clancy Moore Architects (*), Atcost barn, Shatwell, 2019. Photograph.

atcost_drawingmatter_5.jpg – Drawing Matter

Clancy Moore Architects (*), Atcost barn, Shatwell, 2019. Photograph.

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