Creating The Vale
Over the last few weeks we have shared posts about a Simple Cantilever Stone Staircase and a complex Post Tensioned Stone Staircase, this week we are incredibly excited to talk about our work at The Vale, which is now available to view in detail on our Projects page (https://www.thestonemasonrycompany.co.uk/the-vale). This beautiful 4 Flight staircase, manufactured in Combe Brune Limestone, is a wonderful example of how to create a grand, multi storey, cantilever stone staircase without the need for a large amount of space. On this occasion we not only provided this elegant stone staircase, but we also designed, manufactured and installed other architectural elements around the property, including the pilasters either side of the staircase and a portico at the front of the property (pictures of which can be seen on the project page). The purpose of today’s post is to explain some of the work that went into the construction of this project, including how the we got from the original design brief to the finished product you see today.
The challenge with The Vale was to try and utilise a relatively restrictive space whilst still creating a welcoming and impressive staircase. We wanted to create a staircase that not only gracefully takes you from one floor to the next but also one that makes a great first impression as it greets you at the front door. One of the most elegant parts of this staircase is the continuity in its design, each flight is connected to the next by apron stones (the cladding at the landing edge which can be clearly seen in the below image), this continuation of the shape of the staircase produces an elliptical stairwell, it also completes an unbroken chain of stone that begins with the first step in the basement and ends 13m up on the third floor.
(You will notice in the above image the staircase has been shielded with our bespoke protection, this is something we recommend that our clients invest in to mitigate the risk of any unnecessary damage to the staircase that might occur whilst other construction works are still on going.)
The design of this staircase created a number of practical challenges. Firstly, to reflect the elliptical layout, a new structural wall had to be built for the cantilever staircase to bear into, and a steel support system had to be introduced in order for the stones to connect with the landings. Secondly, being a refurbishment project, there were different distances between each floor which had to be accounted for, so each flight was a different height, when you couple this with the elliptical shape, where every step is slightly different to the last, you end up with a total of 101 unique stone pieces that needed to be carefully drawn and templated before being manufactured. Bearing in mind that the average stone weighs around 230kg before it is shaped, and considering that each stone is hand carved in our workshop, great consideration had to be paid to the logistics, and communication was critical for avoiding costly mistakes. Finally, as you can see in the project photographs, unlike most stone staircases, every step at The Vale has a curved front, adding another layer of difficulty to production. It is our belief that we have managed to produce this stylish staircase, with all of these considerations, thanks to our impeccable design team and their commitment to making even the most complex of designs both functional and beautiful.