Since a radical redesign in the 1970s, where the original grand staircase was removed, the route to the first floor galleries was illegible and uninspiring. Our design re-creates the connection between the ground and first floors by opening up the floor over the entrance lobby. Into this new volume we have inserted a new curving staircase.
The geometry of the stair was inspired by the museum’s fossilised ammonites which display a spiralling form based on the Fibonacci sequence. Following this geometry allowed the stair to curve its way to the first floor within the confined space.
The stair is realised as a simple, crisp structure of painted metal. This makes the stair seem as though it has been folded out of the fabric of the museum itself. Curved american oak treads echo the ammonites’ cellular structure and provide a warm counterpoint to the white shell of the stair.