One of the key drivers for the Adderton refurbishment project was accessibility. This new exterior staircase adds an additional connection between the levels at the rear of the building in a section where an additional staircase was required. The design has been carefully thought out to create something not only practical and user-friendly but also beautiful and a pleasant and safe space to move between levels.
The round stair is located within an unused courtyard space that faces directly west and on a Brisbane afternoon would potentially be quite hot and exposed to the sun. Melissa Hughes of Wilson Architects, who were the Architects for the 2019 refurbishment of Adderton, said of the design, ” We sought to integrate a landscaped garden of native plants that would thrive, and establish a vertical sub tropical landscape, in a way that makes the stair disappear.
“The circle has been used throughout the project, in stark contrast to the symmetrical geometry of the existing Heritage building, it represents coming together, unity and movement.
“The round stair-case is inserted with careful consideration of the connection to heritage fabric, and constructed in contrasting materials and colours to the existing building, creating a new distinguishable layer in the Adderton story.”
Some other clever features of the design is the flat roof of the staircase that does not obscure or compete with the roof-line or other levels of the heritage building. A small opening in the middle of the roof has a chain linked that runs down through the void in the core of the spiral staircase directing rain water to water the garden at the bottom for continued plant growth. The aesthetics aren’t only visual, the sound of the rain water hitting the tin roof and trickling down the chain is also beautiful.
Melissa Hughes said, “The planting selections were made based on their robustness, maintenance and growth, based on the aspect and sub-tropical climate, to create an experience that visitors pass through on their journey that is shady and cool.
The plant growth has been quite rapid with the climbing vine now almost covering the exterior wire frame around the staircase creating a lovely, cool and verdant living wall to the stairs as you move between the levels of Adderton’s gallery spaces.