"Ordinary things contain the deepest mysteries… If anything is described by an architectural plan, it is the nature of human relationships, since the elements whose trace it records – walls, doors, windows and stairs – are employed first to divide and then selectively to re-unite inhabited space." -- Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays, Robin Evans
Robin Evans’ 1978 essay Figures, Doors and Passages analyzes how ordinary elements of a plan and their arrangements interact and shape occupancy. A simple corner or window opening is in fact inscribed with a complex matrix of spatial relationships that determine how a space is used. Neri&Hu’s design for Bloomberg Hong Kong’s internal office stair is in part inspired by the mundane elements of space-making - windows, passages, staircases and thresholds. The client’s brief was to design a staircase to connect the 3 different floors of their office with the explicit rule that this stair should to be used daily as the only vertical connection within the office to encourage employee interaction. Part of the brief was to also create a design that would respond to the locale of Hong Kong to create a link to the larger context of the city. The site is situated in the client’s existing office, within a typical office tower and surrounded by existing conference rooms, break-out areas, a recording studio and an auditorium. The existing spiral staircase was sculpturally iconic but the geometry was not conducive for the daily high traffic volume. Our challenge was re-design a staircase that would work within the structural limitations of the knock-out panels in the floor slab, while still creating a more spacious journey.