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Something Wonderful: The Escherian Stairwell

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  • ghostsniper November 26, 2017, 6:59 PM

    As someone that has designed hundreds of stairways, commercial, industrial, and residential, the ghost step is not a step at all, it is a landing, and it is hardly a ghost. Of the 2 landings shown in the diagram the “ghost” landing is the only accurate one. The landing at the far end is obviously wrong and to my eyes even seems distorted, like it has a multi-planar slope to it. I have seen this Escher type stairwell many times and this is the most inaccurate version, most of the others have been very convincing. The reason this one is not convincing is the center wall does not rise high enough on the far end to create a visual break in the landing on that end and thus it instantly appears “wrong” to the eye. This is further proved by the width of the landing on the near end compared to the width of the landing at the far end. There is no continuity and the minds eye recognizes it.

  • Candy Webb November 26, 2017, 7:40 PM

    [ It’s a hoax ] <-- Shush now. [Oh okay… too late./]

  • Ed November 26, 2017, 9:52 PM

    Candy’s right. A promo using video tricks and actors. Had me going for a while because the stairs looked real, as well as the students going up and down, and I knew of the Escher drawings.

    Ghost, are you trying to explain the accompanying sketch is just a sloppy piece of drafting? I can buy that, too.

    Post modern architecture offered at R.I.T.? Scary thought. I had a friend who graduated from Rochester. He was at the time a Navy reservist on a nuclear sub crew that drilled at Bremerton. That had to be long before the school descended into video fraud. At least where I went to school, E-Week featured concrete canoe races.

  • Bill Henry November 26, 2017, 9:53 PM

    You are so serious Ghost… but you know.. I always gotta click the comment section to see what you have to say about it..


    Don’t change ever..

  • A. N. Onymous November 27, 2017, 5:29 AM

    The idea for the stairwell originated in the legislative process of Congress. Up is down. Progress ends up where it started.

  • pbird November 27, 2017, 10:57 AM

    Ghost, I talked a contractor into making a back porch for me with five inch high steps. I can barely get up those. But, he sure didn’t want to. He kept going on about resale value of the house! lol

  • ghostsniper November 27, 2017, 1:09 PM

    Pbird, contractors build, designers think. Big diff. Upon telling me you wanted 5″ risers I would have asked why, in detail. I might have then suggested a ramp and right on the spot I would have whipped up a 3d sketch (perspective) showing how it would look on your house.

    Since I also have a contractors license (but rarely have used it) I would have been concerned with a couple of things inherently connected to those 5″ risers.
    1) Building code violations. If the builder is caught doing it wrong he will be heavily fined and perhaps have his license suspended or revoked. Even after the fact the code examiners can make you rip out the violation and install it properly. Yeah, THEY own your house not you. If in doubt take a look at your property tax bill, notice the name across the top.

    2) Insurance. If you fall on those steps and have an injury requiring the use of your homeowners insurance you can bet your bottom dollar those insurance investigators will have tape measures on them when they visit the site. And yes, they will visit your nosy and envious neighbors that are concerned that what you do to your property will adversely effect the value of their property.

    Ahhhh, suburbia. I self sentenced myself to that doom and gloom in another life and that sentence was about 4 decades. The safest place on earth, so they say, but out here in ruralville we see it from a different angle and I don’t care if you fall down your steps no matter the riser height because YOUR property is yours to do with however you want and it’s just none of my business and I expect, no, demand, the same in return.

    If you live in a cold climate keep a bag of no-ice close by and a kitty litter scoop, and a pair of LL Bean hikers with aggressive treads are suggested also, and always, ALWAYS hold onto the railing.