brininstool + lynch, chicago

A well-designed stair is seldom merely a means of moving from one floor to another. But even by that standard, this one is a notable overachiever. Occupying a space that extends from the front of a deep, narrow townhouse-form residence to the rear, it conveys not only people, but also light, air, and even structural stresses in the building frame.

“It’s the spine through the entire house,” observed one of our judges, “and you peel off at various landings and other events.” A landing midway between the main and lower levels comprises a compact entry hall. Open risers filter light from windows at the front and rear of the house and facilitate natural ventilation. By bridging the three-story opening, the stair’s welded steel frame helps stabilize the building’s long side wall. “Cleanly done,” declared another judge, who called the stair “the most important organizing element of the house.”

(See more on this project, which also won a Merit award in the Custom / More Than 3,000 Square Feet category.)

Project Details
principal in charge / project architect:
Brad Lynch, Brininstool + Lynch,
general contractor: Jake Goldberg, Goldberg General Contracting, Chicago,
project size: 4,250 square feet; site size: 0.09 acre
construction cost: $389 per square foot
photography: Christopher Barrett/Hedrich Blessing

Product Specs
bathroom fittings: KWC America, Vola A/S; bathroom fixtures: Kohler Co., TOTO USA; cooktop, dishwasher, oven/range: Gaggenau; countertops, kitchen cabinets: Arclinea Chicago; doors, windows: Hope's Windows; exterior siding: RHEINZINK America; flooring (carpet): Shaw Industries; flooring (ceramic tile/stone/concrete): Ann Sacks Tile & Stone, Stone Source; flooring (wood): The Bahr Co.; garage doors: Overhead Door Corp.; garbage disposer: In-Sink-Erator; hardware: Accurate Lock and Hardware, d line North America, Forms+Surfaces, RIXSON Specialty Door Controls, Schlage Lock Co.; insulation: CertainTeed Corp., Johns Manville; kitchen fittings: KWC America; kitchen fixtures: Foster Custom Kitchens; lighting fixtures: BEGA/US, B-K Lighting, Gammalux Systems, Lucifer Lighting Co., Nulite Lighting; paints/stains/wall finishes: Benjamin Moore & Co.; radiant floor heating system: Uponor (WIRSBO); refrigerator: Sub-Zero; roofing: CertainTeed Corp.; skylights/roof windows: Panelite

View the next 2010 rada winner.