Stylish stairs inspired by depot building

9:42 AM Tuesday August 19, 2014 Anne Gibson

The staircase needed about 1750 hours of work.

A stylish new staircase was installed this month on the City Works Depot office and retail site off Nelson St in Auckland's CBD.

Nat Cheshire of Cheshire Architects, which designed the big steel stairs, said the two flights each had 15 steps but the whole piece was so large that its 108 rods would span 1.4km if they were laid end to end.

The stairs were designed by Dajiang Tai and George Gregory who worked with fabricator Justin Groves of Design Productions, he said.

"The designers followed the stair from its factory to the site at 2.30am and revelled in the drama of its dawn installation," he said.

Cheshire has been involved in many other adaptive reuse works at the old depot site, where industrial buildings were once owned by Auckland City Council but are now owned by Tournament Parking and leased to many tenants including Bauer Media Group, agency Y&R NZ, Best Ugly Bagels, Al Brown & Co and Food Truck Garage.

"We try everywhere at the City Works Depot to veil the hand of the designer, yet to act boldly," said Cheshire.

"Within robust commercial budgets we tried to design as if the development of this half-century-old site had just never stopped. We teased mathematics out of the proportions of the building. We made front doors you could drive trucks through - and drove trucks through them.

"We made a stair that might act as a mechanism for interlinking this new part of the precinct to the already thriving layers above it," said Cheshire, who is founding principal Pip Cheshire's son.

The stair project took around 1750 hours of work for the design, construction and installation.