Handrail Armatures for a Grand Staircase

Stephen Lars Klein

The grand staircase for the Yale School of Drama’s spring 1997 production of A Ride Across Lake Constance (see Figure 1) was designed to impress. But the staircase was more massive than complicated: only its handrails presented an unusual technical challenge. Beginning as straight sections along the top landings and upper staircases, they curved in broad, sweeping descents that began at the mid-landing and ended in tight volutes at the bottom.

Building curved handrails from ordinary scenic materials is usually difficult and time-consuming. Fortunately, the cross-section of this particular handrail was a simple oval closely resembling one of the pre-formed handrails that Julius Blum ...

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