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Stairscraper gives apartment dwellers taste of suburbia


December 22, 2010

The Stairscraper

The Stairscraper

Image Gallery (12 images)

One of the big drawbacks for high-rise living is the lack of outdoor space, which in the best case is usually limited to a small balcony, or in the worst cases a window flowerbox ... or nothing at all. An innovative skyscraper design by Barcelona-based firm Nabito Architects solves this problem with a corkscrew design that makes the roof of the unit below an outdoor space for the unit above.

While the "Stairscraper" doesn’t offer the housing density of traditional skyscrapers, Nabito is looking to merge the urban with the suburban to provide the space-saving benefits of high-rise living with the added benefit of some private green space for individual units. In addition to the private outdoor spaces, the architects say some levels would also be set aside as public spaces.

According to the company, “the Stairscraper is a superposition of individual singular garden houses with the same characteristic of the horizontal sprawl but liberating the land and concentrating the uses and the energy. It is a social collective of individualities.”

As a result of Nabito Architects' design being named the 2010 project winner of the Total Housing Competition at The Storefront For Art and Architecture, the Stairscraper will apparently be built in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Via designboom

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Gaaaah. Just looking at the conceptual image is triggering my acrophobia.

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The trees crack me up, like there is really enough depth for the trees to root,... And if they did, the roots would destroy the building.


What to say when the neighbors kids lose their soccer ball over the fence comes to my mind.


Intriguing design. Beyond the problems noted by others, the on-the-edge yard barrier would never be approved by any city planner fearful of wrongful death lawsuits. There would have to be at least a 3 or 4 foot safety surround from the inner hub all the way around to the other side of the dwelling, possibly with yet another plexi-glass barrier on the very edge. Yes, most of today\'s balconies are built without any type of safety surround, but something that gives a false sense of a yard might cause people to perceive them more like a yard and behave less carefully on them than they would on a balcony.

Nice concept though. An inbetween level could also be halved and serve as an upstairs for the lower unit and a downstairs for an upper unit. In fact, luxury units could have a full middle and split a lower and an upper giving the dweller a sense of a tri-level dwelling unit. Pretty cool.


"the "Stairscraper" doesn't offer the housing density of traditional skyscrapers"

I wonder if this could be solved by designing the Stairscraper as a double helix instead of a single helix. I would think that would also and stability through symmetry.

btw image 7 is ridiculously hilarious, showing a kid SNOWBOARDING at the edge of the balcony! Really?


For a shorter building, I could it working. For a taller building ( a skyscraper), I would think the upper levels would be impractical. The upper levels would have to deal with winds. I would go for the lower levels but not the higher ones (fear of heights). :)


You\'d have no privacy at all in the \"yard\", as half a dozen or so of your upstairs neighbours would have a birds-eye view, as would people further up looking out the back windows. I think I\'d prefer to have a balcony under the upstairs unit, affording total (albeit shaded) privacy.

Marcus Carr

Great Idea, I like it. Every house have thier own garden/open space and large enough. Build it, I will consider like to buy one.


Nice and beautiful design. I think that the advantages will by far overcome the price and the space-saving issues. Here in Barcelona such terraces (not the building) are very common and they really add somethin special to a flat: going outside, reading and eating all this stayin home is simply awesome. And for those who may think that such a project could be too expensive I would suggest to have a look at all the collateral problems derived from an insane architecture in the suburbs. Here in Europe, million lives in such inhumane buildings with small windows, no gardens and very poor access to public transport. Nice buildings, and nice place to live make people feel and act better.


nostarme, forget soccer balls. For those walking past the building, \"it\'s raining cats and dogs\" might become literally true. And yrag, if we build the buildings in a double helix design, they might start reproducing on their own!


I wonder how long someone could run the baCK yards 'till their knees gave out (upwards would be pretty difficult but less terrifying)

Robin Sutherland

This concept isn't realistic. For one, it doesn't look safe. Forget the soccer ball over the fence, just imagine what a hurricane will do to this. Children and pets being picked up out of their patio space and dropped hundreds of feet to their deaths.. Bad idea, Go move to the country.

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