The Cork Stair at the Building Centre
The world’s first self-supporting staircase made of cork is the perfect showcase for innovation in the built environment, commissioned as part of a wider refurbishment of the Building Centre’s exhibition space.
Sitting at the centre of a new gallery, the Cork Stair is built from solid cork blocks, rejected by the cork stopper industry, and rescued for this project. Selected for its truly circular and carbon-neutral properties, the stair highlights this underused type of wood and demonstrates its attributes.
Large format components were used to allow the material to be disassembled and reused at the end of the structure’s life.
Through inventive engineering and design problem-solving, the cork sections were glued and pegged using timber dowels, and intersecting treads ensured there was little waste from each standard block.
By challenging traditional construction methods and reimagining the potential of standard cork blocks, in such a prominent location, the stair serves as an inspiration to designers to explore unconventional materials and consider their life-cycle impacts.
ArchitectRoz Barr Architects
Structural EngineerWebb Yates Engineers
Wood SupplierAmorim Cork Composites