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 The Staircase: History and Theories John Templer has written the first theoretical, historical, and scientific analysis of one of the most basic and universal building elements: the stair. Together, these two volumes present a detailed study of stairs and ramps - the art and science of their design, their history, and their hazards.

For the designer and the art and architectural historian, the first volume treats the fascinating history of stairs and their immense influence on the art and science of architecture. It is illustrated with more than 100 photographs from around the world and reviews the literature on stairs (as well as ladders and railings and ramps) from Vitruvius to Venturi. Templer considers the whole play of meanings in the idea of the stair - as art object, as structural idea, as legal prescription, or as poetic fancy - making it clear that the stair is simultaneously an aesthetic, architectonic, ergonomic, and cultural element.

The second volume shows the dangers stairs present. Drawing on twenty years of human factors research on stairs, Templer sets out what is known about slips, trips, and falls and how best to design stairs to avoid their inherent dangers. He discusses the physiological and behavioral relationship between humans and stairs and walkways, the question of gait and slippery surfaces, and the various types of falls and the injuries that result. Perhaps most importantly, Templer proposes the idea of the soft stair, which could substantially reduce the annual epidemic of stair-related deaths and injuries.

John Templer is Regents' Professor of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has published extensively on architecture including theory, human factors research, and designing for the elderly and disabled, and is also an expert on legal cases involving bodily injury caused by falls.
  Date Published 4/22/1999

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Rated By: Sarah J. Marsh
From: New Fairfield, CT
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Comments: Staircase...Everything you ever wanted to know and then some
I have just purchased my third copy of The Staircase. My previous copies were never returned to me by the borrows but still found their way to our towns' school libraries. John Templer,previously a professor of Architecture at Georgia Tech is emminently qualified to write about all aspects of the staircase. The evolution,history and trivial facts of the staircase are fascintating reading for all ages. The pictures will draw you to continue reading. The topic was so intriguing, I found myself wading into the engineering specifications, hazards (including famous people who died on a staircase)and safety issues. I never ascend or descend a staircase without considering the depth of the tread and the height of the rise, the height of the handrail. What a terrific school project appropriate for the 12 year old and over set. I can see them measuring the dimensions of the stairs in their towns' public buildings, gathering statistics on accident and injuries on these stairs and asking the town fathers why this is so!