One square, one circular. The square has a radial winder stair inside (but cut as a square), while the circle has a square stair inside, with habitable spaces inside of that inner square. This particular example is a rift on a project by Oswald Mathias Ungers, where circular and square towers are set alongside one another (and of course, I can’t track it down, though I know it’s in the Electa monograph. . .).
Returning to the work of Lutyens, this small room takes its primary cue from a detail in a stair hall at Viceroy’s House, New Delhi, where an arcade is topped with a small pendentive at the corner, curving the profile of the ceiling. Wormseye axonometric views follow – the bottom image also has sectional and wormseye studies of another Lutyens-inspired previous post.
Plan as generator (aka, ‘floor plan comes first, elevations second’), with a long hallway bisecting a semi-cubic volume, colonnades at either end. Now a staircase – centered on the hallway, one half of the house takes a large ballroom, while the other is bisected into two smaller drawing rooms. The second floor, two long, windowed rooms sit over the porches, while a tall pyramidal skylight tops the stair hall.
A square with Richardsonian towers on the corners, flat masonry facades in the main axis, with full-height shingle roofs over porches in the other. A skylit circular stair in a square hall in the center with octagonal-ish foyers on either end with half-round aedicules for entry porches.
I’ll be featuring the rest of the house from which this small detail stems tomorrow, but here’s a small tidbit – a foyer or entry hall that is not quite a true octagon, due to the geometries at play in the larger plan. Different ceiling options follow, where the first attempts to regulate the whole in a ribbed ‘melon’ dome, the second highlights the four cardinal direction in a circular vault, and the third treats those as flat panels.
My wife and I took a short trip to Machado Silvetti’s Getty Villa a few months ago. I brought along my sketchbook and put down a few details, ideas, or forms that I found fascinating – from the archaeological ‘Roman’ architecture of the Villa proper, Machado Silvetti’s modernist interventions, or the ancient Roman and Greek antiquities housed inside, including that splendid bronze staircase (underside of risers and stone handrail).
Stepping back to a previous topic, I’ll share an unbuilt Robert A. M. Stern project I stumbled upon a few months past titled simply ‘House in Cold Spring Harbor’ from 1985. The house in interesting for a few reasons: the formal entrance is off of a motor court on the secondary axis, and is below grade (the bottom sketch in the drawing above); a large square stair makes up the majority of the central volume, and is capped with an enormous north-facing monitor; there is a wonderful play between the formal portico-ed facade and the rear garden facade, which takes on a u-shape; a large chimney-piece makes up the east facade, though the flue is not centered on the entire building, rather a window. My own circular take on the central staircase follows.