Staircases | An Architect Explains

A stairway, staircase, stairwell, flight of stairs, or simply stairs is a construction designed to bridge a large vertical distance by dividing it into smaller vertical distances, called steps. Staircases are very visible and many a  time, the focal point in interiors. When you think of Stairs, there are hundreds of possibilities in terms of the shapes, the design, the location and the materials that can be used. To help you decide on the best Staircase, an Architect has explained Staircases here:


There are many technical terms used with Staircases and they can be quite confusing. So the first thing you need to know are the terms associated with Stairs which  have been explained here:

Designing a Staircase: The designing of Staircases is gaining importance nowadays, as they are very visible and can be a central design feature of a home. Curved, cantilevered, spiral or suspended, in steel, glass, wood, copper or aluminium – infinite possibilities have been opened up by clever design and engineering. As an Architect practising in Bangalore, India, I  see the potential to add that ‘wow factor’ to a house using Staircases. So here are some tips on planning a Staircase:

Ancient Science tips: Staircases not only provide access from one floor to the other, but also help the energy that enters your home, called Chi, to move unobstructed, up and down easily and smoothly. If staircases are not placed properly, they can inhibit the proper flow of energy throughout the home. Sometimes badly placed stairs can waste a lot of space and create corridors. So to to ensure the smooth flow of Chi up and down stairs, it is worthwhile to read about: 

Types Of Stairs: The steps in stairs are supported by inclined beams called “stringers”, which are strung between two floors slabs. There are typically two stringers, one on either side of the staircase, though single stringers at one end and in the centre are also possible. Based on the number of stringers and manner in which they support the steps, there are three broad types of stairs. They have been described here:

Stair Shapes: There are broadly, six types of staircases based on the shape. When choosing the shape of the staircase, the following aspects should be taken into account:  Space available, Intensity of usage, Form (Shape) preferred,  Convenience and safety.

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3 thoughts on “Staircases | An Architect Explains

  • July 16, 2015 at 9:48 am

    dear sir…
    My land is east facing..Im planning to built staircase at the north east corner..startuing steps from east to west..i could not place anywhere because of space requirement since it is an commercial buulding…what are effects it will make and any steps to avoid those effects…
    Hi Ravin,
    If there is no other place for the staircase, then keep it in the NE corner as proposed by you. Only make sure that there are ample windows in this corner.

  • March 11, 2016 at 1:54 am

    Namaste mahodaya, Mine is a 2 story independent west facing house with external stairecase on southwest corner. The intermediate landing of the staircase to roof of the first floor is 2.5 feet down in height with respect to roof level. Is it ok ?
    Hi Aravinda,
    It is an intermediate landing, so it will be lower than the roof level. Nothing wrong with it.

  • November 26, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Sir home is north facing needed to external staircase for up floor from ground upstairs two room are there & staircase will reach in varhanda
    Can I build staircase from southwest corner
    Or any other option ?
    Hi Santosh,
    Yes you can have the stairs in the SW corner.

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