Graphical Construction Glossary >> stairs. >> general >> Stairwell

A vertical shaft through the floors of a building which contains the staircases.

In general the term stair well refers to a rectangular area, usually walled that passes through all the floors of a building that contains the stairs. In larger buildings this is sometimes a core service area that contains lifts or elevators, stairs and service ducts. See also stairwell hole.

a stair well and lift well
A stairwell using quarter turn landings.

In most cases these wells are small and cramped, only just complying with any regulations regarding the size. It is pleasant to see a grand old design like the one above. It is in a building built in the 1900's that now houses the Art Museum of Saigon in Vietnam. Although it is sadly in need of some care and attention it still gives the impression of space and ventilation, with light flooding in though the open windows. The well also has room for one of the earliest lifts.

A plate steel helical stairway
A circular well within the space of a helical staircase.

A perfectly executed all plate steel helical staircase seen from below.

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Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
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