nine-square staircase


This is a piece of a larger puzzle, the basic parti of which is sketched above.  The stair is located centrally in the square plan, and is itself a nine-square plan.  Tectonically, the stair is supported on a peristyle of Tuscan pilasters, while the stair proper is takes its details from Mies’ Crown Hall at IIT, and tall fireplaces occupy three sides (their form, a take on Schindler’s Kings Road House.



2 thoughts on “nine-square staircase

  1. Nicholas, inspiring work and great sketches. I’m interested in the 9 square plan…what do you consider significant about that pattern? I’ve been looking into the symbolic weight of the number 9, and the distinctly human preference for the square.


    1. Hi Chris,
      Thank you for the kind words and interest. I at least find that the square, aside from its Platonic history, remains my primary starting point. Even when I try to sketch a different form, I find I always come back to four equal sides. Kahn sure was right, ‘always start with squares’.
      The nine square is a result of dividing the single square, since due to its inherently large scale, an architectural whole must always be made up of parts: that lovely large square we draw will ultimately have joints, having been composed of smaller pieces as part of the construction process. If I’m drawing squares, chances are that I’m breaking them down into smaller squares, because I’m neurotic.
      The ‘nine’ itself is the mathematical result of dividing each edge of the square into three, where the four square has each side divided into two. This may seem elementary, but the Classical tradition almost universally preferred the nine square over and against the four, especially when placing columns in porticoes, as it allows the human subject to occupy the center and observe the architectural object around him.
      Conversely, the four square acts in the opposite, where the architectural object occupies the center, forcing the human subject to ambulate about it. Where the Classical tradition has more or less repudiated this parti, it was picked up in spades by Modenism and the Postmodernism that followed.


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