ETH Zürich  |  DARCH  |  ITA  |  Structural Design  |  EXCURSIONS  |  AUTUMN 2016 
Josef Wiedemann, Bayerische Landesbausparkasse, Munich, 1956
Josef Wiedemann, Bayerische Landesbausparkasse, Munich, 1956

Thought out of step
Experimental stair form finding

Su. 23. - Fr. 28.10.2016 | max. 14 Participants | Cost range A (ca. CHF 250) | Poster

Stairs play a central role in the history of the building industry. Stairs not only connect floors and rooms, but occupy and shape them at the same time. Since their basic structure is derived from human movements, they are determined by empirical construction rules from the inside; from the outside, however, they appear free, which led to very different forms and typologies depending on the period and cultural area. In everyday planning, the unavoidable "natural" structure leads to numerous geometric norms. The great freedom in the play of forms of the "spatial bridges" allows a specific contribution to be made from the structural grammar. Between the regularity of the step and the creative expression, numerous themes of architectural design accumulate on the staircase.

Our seminar week, which we are conducting in cooperation with Raplab, begins with a two-day trip (Munich, Regensburg and Basel), during which the topic of the staircase is illuminated and discussed from various architectural perspectives. In addition to an insight into the life′s work of Friedrich Mielke, the world′s first stair researcher, the programme includes a visit to the collection of stair designs at Herzog de Meuron in Basel. After his return, the focus of the workshop will be on the design of stairs as spatial figures beyond standardized typologies. The method of experimental form finding will serve as a generative medium to playfully produce unconventional solutions with the help of structural models. The prototypes developed in the workshop will serve as a design basis for a new staircase construction that the professorship intends to realize for the new HIB building. It is therefore possible to further develop the design within the framework of an elective thesis (“Wahlfacharbeit”).

Prof. Dr. Wienbreyer, Sophie Schlosser (Institute for Scalalogie, Regensburg)
Aurelien Caetano (Herzog & de Meuron, Basel)
Andreas Keil (Schlaich Bergermann Partner, Stuttgart)
Alessandro Tellini (raplab, ETH Zürich)

Bayerische Landesbausparkasse, Wiedemann, Munich, 1955
Allianz headquarters,Wiedemann, Munich, 1952
Alte Pinakothek, Döllgast, Munich, 1957
Pinakothek der Moderne, Braunfels, Munich, 2002
Umschreibung (staircase sculpture), Eliasson, Munich, 2004
div. staircases in Regensburg

Visit to:
Insitute for Scalalogie, Regensburg
Herzog & de Meuron, Basel

Chair of Structural Design
Ole Ohlbrock (
Prof. Dr. Joseph Schwartz

Transportation, accommodation, visits, daily sketch workshop and reader included.

last modified 4.2.2020