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Hanging Dovetailed Staircase

Shortlist 2019

Hanging Dovetailed Staircase

Architect: Michaelis Boyd
Main contractor: Gradica Building Contractors
Joinery: Matt Williams
Lighting design: John Cullen
Wood supplier: English Woodlands Timber
Structural engineer: Campbell Reith
Wood species: Native oak

A staircase was commissioned as part of a residential basement extension and refurbishment to connect the three bottom levels. The new lightweight and contemporary stairs draw light into the lower levels. Crafted from delicate tapering oak spindles suspended from the floor above, each vertical spindle is dovetailed into cantilevering solid oak treads. 67 hand-routed shouldered dovetail joints culminate in the lowest flight floating above a ground bearing joinery unit. Moving away from a traditional staircase posed its own risks and uncertainties, particularly regarding excessive bounce and creaking. However, the dovetail joints mean that when the stair is loaded it becomes more rigid and resistant to movement.