This is the site for my thesis, the popular ‘Sculpture on the Gulf’ walk on Waiheke Island, New Zealand. The trail starts from near the ferry terminal and weaves its way out around the headland. I identified six individual sites for the location of the staircase architectural interventions.
In order to explore how the body responds to staircases, I took a series of photographs of a person walking up and down the stairs, and then traced over the form. The main points of the body were then highlighted to represent the changing form and movement. These tests were used to inform the stair designs in my thesis.
The second stair design for my thesis takes the form of an illusive interior space set amongst the trees. The shape was inspired by a series of wax models experimenting with shadows. The space consists of a range of layered forms with a variety of sizes and configurations of stairs. As the light filters through the trees, the light and shadow effects change across the day creating the illusion of more stairs.
This fourth staircase design from my thesis cantilevers over the edge of a cliff. Exploring the concept of the kinetic staircase, this design uses a pulley system to raise and lower the step platforms. The interior metal reflections also add the changing experience while offering spectacular views of the surrounding islands.
The fifth site for my thesis is a curved sculptural form unravelling down the hill. It is intended to push the boundary of what can be considered a staircase, and is an interactive structure that people must step through to pass. The red plastic shape and material was modelled and rendered in Revit.
The final design in the series of six staircases for my thesis is a nostalgic monument positioned at the end of the sculpture walk. The classic obelisk form is deconstructed by the curving wireframe enclosing the shape. Visitors can interact with the structure and reflect on the journey. The deep shadows and composition was also inspired by de Chirico’s paintings.
The third design for my thesis combines the form of a staircase with a camera obscura. Small holes in the side of the structure allow light to enter the dark interior and project images of the surrounding landscape on the surface inside. The design plays on a sense of reality and unreality with the reversed images of the exterior existing steps enclosed with the new staircase.
This is the first staircase design from my thesis for the ‘Sculpture on the Gulf’ walk on Waiheke Island, New Zealand. The interactive piece identifies the threshold point at the start of the walk. Visitors can first view this marker when arriving on the island via boat. From the water the shape appears as the standard form of a staircase. However, when people approach the structure it is revealed that the sculpture is actually made up of a range of objects. Each piece represents a different part of the staircase which can be experienced in a number of ways.
For my thesis exploration of staircases, I started by investigating how people move up and down stairs. I wanted to represent the movement as a fluid motion, so I figured the best way to do this was by using light. I attached LED’s to various parts of the body including head, arms, and legs, and then took long exposure photographs to capture the movement. The most interesting result was the difference in motion of the foot when ascending and descending. When walking up the shape is more rounded and arched, however going down the shape flattened. You can see in the images above, the change between the red and green lines on the steps. Also visible is the placement of the hand when moving up and down the staircase, as opposed to not using the rail at all.