The Endless Stair is an installation that seemed to challenge the rules of perspective, took its inspiration from the drawings of Escher. But unlike the works of the Dutch graphic artist, whose designs were famously mathematically impossible, the Endless Stair was not only realisable but actually achieved.
It consisted of a series of ‘handed’ timber stairs, some veering to the right and others to the left, offering a number of routes to a top flight that culminated in a viewing platform.
Alex de Rijke of de Rijke Marsh Morgan is committed to designing structures that do not waste materials. So part of the thinking behind the project was a desire to make the elements as environmentally friendly as possible, with each flight of stairs built up from standard elements, as little waste as possible in construction and the ability to re-use and relocate the design either in part or as a whole.
‘We have tried to dimension the panels according to the size that can be laminated,’ he said. ‘They can be simply cut with no waste.’ Rijke says.
The challenge of using timber in a new way seemed therefore made for him, particularly as he had written that ‘Swiss, Austrian and German development of laminated mass-timber construction techniques (with increasingly fine consequences) are now challenging the preconception that timber is modern architecture’s poor relation.’