Helical stair balustrades let in the light

Helical stair balustrades let in the light

Q-railing used the Easy Glass Max system as part of renovation works at head of building of the Bank of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. As part of this remodelling exercise, a graceful new helical staircase was added, connecting the ground floor with a conference centre and museum space below street level.

Q-railing used the Easy Glass Max system to create seamless, all-glass stair balustrades for both sides of the curving stairway. They give a weightless appearance to the concrete structure and allow a flood of light down to the lower floor. The ambitious renovation project, which had a budget of $460 million, addressed several pressing needs, including a requirement for larger meeting rooms. The bank made plans for a new conference facility, to be located in an existing basement area below the east tower.

Working closely with structural engineer Adjeleian Allen Rubeli, Andrew Frontini of Perkins+Will developed a graceful design for a helical staircase. Although the finished article is cast in highly compressed concrete, it almost seems to float. Its sensuous form invites one to use it.

Naturally, this elegant staircase required equally elegant stair balustrades. Given the considerable challenge of fabricating structural glass to perfectly match a curving form, the designers turned to Q-railing for assistance. With only 4 months’ lead time, the Q-railing team were able to develop, engineer, supply and oversee installation of the required stair balustrades as well as other glass safety barriers.

The Easy Glass Max system – specifically the fascia-mount variant – was identified by Q-railing as the ideal product for the task. They recommended it not only for its ability to deliver high levels of safety, even in heavy-use public settings, but also for its minimalist look. Combined with the low-iron glass specified by the client, it ensures that the stair balustrades are nearly invisible from many angles. This effect enhances the lightness and flowing lines of the helical staircase.

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