Adding stairs to your space or environment will take your designs into the vertical dimension and
add another measure of dynamism to your architecture and interior spaces, or display systems.
Stairs are not for perspective beginners, so if you're just starting out, start with basic fundamentals of perspective and add stairs when you feel more confident with your ability to apply the basic concepts.
Many excellent perspective drawing books and videos briefly approach drawing staircases, but leave considerable details out or don't cover enough scenarios for the beginner.
Staircases make use of Sloped Plane Vanishing Points, so you'll need to become familiar with these principals before getting started.
Most tutorials build stairs one step at a time, which works fine for a few steps, but we run into big problems when we reach the horizon line and need to go higher, often resulting in a loss of the smooth repetition needed to convey believable staircases. To correct this we need to utilize both the Division System along with Sloped Plane Vanishing Points. Combining these mechanics together, we can construct highly believable stairs in any environment you're working on, with any floor-to-floor level and can be applied in 1-pt or 2-pt perspectives equally well.
First, consider and determine the following:
This is the best way to get started and familiar the concepts. It's a great system to use when you only need a few steps, however, it presents major problems when you need a staircase that goes higher than the horizon line.
When you have a known second level height, it's best to divide the height, from floor-to-floor into evenly divided units (see Division System).
CATALOG OF SCENARIOS
Below are some of the most common scenarios we encounter. Be creative. Your design may be comprised of variations or combinations of similar scenarios.
TUTORIALS & HOW-TO GUIDES
Stage 1: Empathize—Research Your Users' Needs
The first stage of the design thinking process allows you to gain an empathetic understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve, typically through user research. Empathy is crucial to a human-centered design process like design thinking because it allows you to set aside your own assumptions about the world and gain real insight into users and their needs.
Stage 2: Define—State Your Users' Needs and Problems
In the Define stage, you accumulate the information you created and gathered during the Empathize stage. You analyze your observations and synthesize them to define the core problems you and your team have identified so far. You should always seek to define the problem statement in a human-centered manner as you do this.
Stage 3: Ideate—Challenge Assumptions and Create Ideas
Designers are ready to generate ideas as they reach the third stage of design thinking. The solid background of knowledge from the first two phases means you can start to “think outside the box”, look for alternative ways to view the problem and identify innovative solutions to the problem statement you’ve created.
Stage 4: Prototype—Start to Create Solutions
This is an experimental phase, and the aim is to identify the best possible solution for each of the problems identified during the first three stages. Design teams will produce a number of inexpensive, scaled-down versions of the product (or specific features found within the product) to investigate the problem solutions generated in the previous stage.
Stage 5: Test—Try Your Solutions Out
Designers or evaluators rigorously test the complete product using the best solutions identified in the Prototype phase. This is the final phase of the model but, in an iterative process such as design thinking, the results generated are often used to redefine one or more further problems. Designers can then choose to return to previous stages in the process to make further iterations, alterations and refinements to rule out alternative solutions.
Stage 6: Repeat
MIND / BODY / SPIRIT SUPPORT
1-PT - UP TO SECOND LEVEL,
AWAY FROM VIEWER (STATION POINT)
1-PT - DOWN FROM SECOND LEVEL AND AWAY FROM VIEWER
1-PT - PARALLEL TO BACK WALL
2-PT - UP TO SECOND LEVEL, AWAY FROM VIEWER (STATION POINT) -
TO LEFT OR RIGHT
2-PT - STAIRS WITH LANDINGS
Brasilia. Oscar Niemeyer
Thomas Heatherwick Studio
BEYOND THE STAIRCASE — BLEACHERS, BUILDINGS, MERCHANDISE DISPLAYS
Once you understand the system, you can be creative about your designs and apply it to many other circumstances such as the examples below.
Sinclaire Garden Pavilion at Art Center, Hodgetts+Fung
Nelson Fine Arts Center, Antoine Predock
tkts by Nicholas Leahy with Perkins Eastman
Eric Owen Moss, Culver City
Prada Store, Beverly Hills. Rem Koolhaas/OMA
Prada Store, New York. Rem Koolhaas/OMA
Longchamp Store, NYC. Thomas Heatherwick Studio
Merchandising displays. Designers unknown
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