Somerset House's concrete spiral staircase stuns the world
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As early as the 15th century, Somerset House was originally a huge Tudor palace. By the 18th century, it had come to be the head office of several of the most crucial companies in Britain at that time, such as the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the Royal Society, and the British Antiquities Culture, to name a few.
The refurbishment of the west wing of Somerset House is part of the overall refurbishment program and is being undertaken by the Somerset House Trust. One of the tasks in this part was to create an arts center and to release the upper floors for offices and conferences, which required a new entrance hall and an 18-meter-high staircase connecting the five floors.
The collision of history and contemporary times became the core of the architect's design of this staircase. Due to space limitations, the staircase adopts the form of a spiral. The around 3.7-meter-wide spiral steps are constructed from white ultra-high-performance concrete and spiral to an elevation of 5 floors.
Unlike ordinary staircases supported by walls, this spiral staircase is built around a grid-like lightweight stainless steel core. Engineers could pull off such a whimsical structure because the steps are made of ultra-high-performance concrete, which is harder, lighter and more stable than regular concrete.
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