Stairway made of glass

Visitors find it mesmerising: a suspended glass staircase connecting two floors of the Sydney offices of consulting engineers Connell Wagner.

The design creates an illusion of space and maximises the use of natural light.

“The idea is to showcase what can be achieved with refined structural design using glass as a primary building material,”says senior structural engineer Damian Murphy. “Glass is normally a secondary building material.”

The staircase is the first in frameless glass to be built in Australia. It was engineered by Murphyin collaboration with architect Woodhead International.

Murphy, an Australian who has won major awards in the US for building design, recently joined Connell Mott MacDonald – the building arm of Connell Wagner – to apply his structural expertise, including the use of architectural glass.

The staircase uses 1,400 mm wide treads of toughened laminated glass comprising two 12 mm layers and a 6 mm wearing surface suspended by steel balustrade rods from an edge angle attached to the floor slab above. A rigid link strut between the glass treads provides lateral stability. The landing acts as a braced bay for lateral restraint.

600450 Stairway made of glass
Date: 21 December 2004

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