Innovation in design often requires working outside of codes and areas of comfort. This glass stair was inspired by the TV programme Grand Design. While cantilevered stairs are not new or unique, their integration into an existing building, understanding of layering and the composite action of the treads as well as client confidence all need to be catered for in the design. Some of these elements can only be satisfied through empirical testing.
The treads have been designed to fit into an existing wall and has been designed so that replacement of individual treads can occur without deconstructing the wall.
The treads were analysed for strength and movement using Finite Element computation to confirm their performance under short term and sustained load (strength and deflection) and for comfort a prototype was constructed for the client.
The prototype was successful in confirming the partial interaction characteristics of laminated glass treads but importantly highlighted the feasibility of connection detail and sensitivity to movement of the three configurations of laminate tested.