The World’s Coolest Staircases: Stairway(s) to Heaven?

The Travel + Leisure Magazine has published an interesting article titled ‘World’s Coolest Staircases’:

From the 33 staircases featured, I chose the ones below to share with you, and I added one of my own (Gaudí’s spiral staircase at Sagrada Familia):

Lello Bookshop, Porto, Portugal
Opened in 1906, Lello is one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores, thanks largely to its centerpiece: this glossy red staircase with carved wooden banisters that leads up to a glass atrium. The stairs are just as beautiful from underneath, with carved leaflike flourishes and the same bluish-green and gold paint as the ceiling above it. Look for lovely neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau elements to the rest of the shop as you browse. —Lyndsey Matthews

Umschreibung, Munich, Germany
The sleek steel of this 30-foot-tall double-helix staircase pops against the backdrop of an orange-and-glass vertical office tower. Located in the courtyard of the global accounting firm KPMG Deutsche Treuhand-Gesellschaft since 2004, Umschreibung (or “rewriting” in German) is the creation of the Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. The staircase doesn’t actually lead anywhere and isn’t open to the public to climb, but it certainly makes a statement. —Lyndsey Matthews

Louvre, Paris, France
Architect I. M. Pei’s controversial addition of a 71-foot glass pyramid is now as iconic as the Louvre’s original 18th-century structure. This staircase within the pyramid leads visitors down to the Louvre’s subterranean plaza. Centered in the museum’s old stone courtyard and unveiled in 1989, the pyramid has become a preferred entryway to the galleries. —Briana Fasone

MAXXI Museum, Rome, Italy

The MAXXI Museum immediately makes a big impression, thanks to this colossal black-painted steel staircase, which connects multilevel atriums. Designed by Zaha Hadid, Italy’s first public museum for contemporary arts was hailed at its 2010 opening as a modern architectural wonder—and our readers seem to agree. MAXXI was voted one of the world’s top new landmarks in a recent survey. —Briana Fasone

The Cascading Universe, Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Dumfries, Scotland

Artist Charles Jencks built this cascading switchback of steps to represent the story of the universe and its development over billions of years. They descend from Portrack House to the architectural garden below. Though the gardens are private, they open to the public once a year through Scotland’s Gardens Scheme to raise money for Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, in honor of Jencks’s late wife. —Lyndsey Matthews

Chand Baori, Abhaneri, India

This small village outside the northern city of Jaipur has a concentration of distinctive step wells called baoris, developed for collecting rainwater. Chand Baori is one of the deepest and largest of these wells, with some 3,500 steps that descend 13 stories deep. While it is possible to see down all 13 flights, it isn’t currently used as a well as the bottom few stories are gated off. Dating from around the ninth century, this step well is located in front of the medieval Harshat Mata Temple. —Lyndsey Matthews

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
Antoni Gaudí’s monumental cathedral is a spectacular homage to organic architecture, the governing ideology in Gaudí’s modernist works. The spiral staircase that takes you up the towers resembles the spiral of a nautilus seashell, and fit perfectly into the overall context of a cathedral that seem to be melting in a way. Decades after his death, the Sagrada Familia project remains to be unfinished. -Camel

6 thoughts on “The World’s Coolest Staircases: Stairway(s) to Heaven?

    • CIA Stooge? Is this what your alien teachers told you about cultural managers before sending you to our planet? And your profile name is Uncle Sam? What a clown!

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