And I’m back again. Hope everyone is having a good semester. I don’t know about all of you, but I can’t wait for thanksgiving break. It will be a much needed break for all I’m sure.
Today I’m going to talk about something that was brought up in some of my classes over the last week. Exit Stairs.
Exit stairs are essential in buildings that are more than one story tall, because they provide a safe way for people to get out safely. In our discussions there were people that were having trouble with their design because of the way the building was shaped they weren’t able to put the exit stairs in a logical, or legal, place because they didn’t want them to interfere with the aesthetics of the building. In some cases these stairs are giant brick boxes on the sides of buildings, and while there’s good reason you want to keep fires out and have to be solid where they connect to the interior of the building, they don’t have to be completely solid on the exterior side. There are ways that you can include the stairs in you design. It can be as simple as having the exterior sides of the stairwell be a curtain wall to bring in light and make it less of a dungeon feel inside. This is done at College of DuPage near Chicago where I did the first two years of undergraduate, and in my opinion doesn’t take away from the aesthetics of the design. Another way would be to create a façade that can make it more interesting or visually appealing. Exit stairs are a crucial part of the design for safety reasons, but that doesn’t mean that they have to ugly afterthoughts. Incorporating them into the design as something other than just egress can also be a way to help make them appear to less of an afterthought than they would be. When designing try to find a way where there can be more interaction between people so they have more of a use and if done successfully these stair would become less of a hassle to design around.