Spiral staircase gallery

Watch where you tread: some of these stairs have been climbed by kings and princes, prime ministers and presidents. Viewed from above, a spiral staircase can appear as an ominous eye, an infinite fractal shell or a bottomless work of abstract art. Amazing staircases can be found in incredibly varied forms – including circular, triangular and square – and are made of myriad materials from stone and wood to concrete and metal.

Postmodern spiral staircase

(Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Photo by Richard Powers via Stair Porn)

Organized by material type, this collection includes classical forms from ancient artisans and dynamic designs from all-star architects. From the most primitive and elemental spiral staircases to postmodern works of dizzying proportions, here are sixteen stellar examples of spiral staircase designs from around the world – all photographed from above.

1) Wonderful Wooden Spiral Staircases

Wooden stairs are a classic centerpiece of many an old house, mansion or estate. Some of these gain character with age and wear. Sometimes wood is used in a way that leaves its mark after the material is gone, as in board-formed concrete staircases or covered-up wooden designs.

Rihga Royal Hotel in Osaka (by Vitroids):

Elegant hotel spiral staircase

The Guest House (by Laura O’Halloran):

Spiral wooden square staircase

Faculty Club at Harvard University (by Ishrona):

Wooden spiral staircase at Harvard

Piece Hall in Halifax, the United Kingdom (by Tim Green):

Square spiral interior staircase

Residential Wooden Spiral Staircase (by JDN):

Wooden residential spiral staircase

2) Historic Brick & Stone Spiral Staircases

Stone and brick were once staples of spiral stair construction, particularly in castles and fortifications where stone was required to prevent fires and enhance protections. Some of these are functionally wrought while others are stylistically embellished.

Old Wood and Brick Spiral Staircase (by Erix):

Old wood and brick spiral tower staircase

Mixed Materials Spiral Staircase (by PrimeJunta):

Old brick and stone metal spiral staircase

Elegant Stone Spiral Staircase in Palacio Barola (by BLMurch):

Elegant stone and metal spiral staircase

3) Modern Metal & Concrete Spiral Staircases

Metal and concrete have replaced wood and stone as primary staircase material in the modern age, but the results are not always as straightforward, square and structured as one might expect from these normally modernist materials.

Functional Concrete and Metal Spiral Staircase (by Fukagawa):

Functional concrete metal spiral staircase

Ljubljana Castle in Slovenia (by ScubaBeer):

Metal castle spiral staircase

Monument to the Great Fire in London, England (by PabloBM):

Metal and stone spiral staircase

4) Even More Mixed Material Spiral Staircases

Elegant Spiral Staircase (by Amber Wolfe):

Spiral staircase elegant

Colorful Vintage Spiral Staircase (by Positive):

Colorful vintage spiral staircase

St Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest (by PaulC):

Elegant ancient cathedral spiral staircase

Apartment Staircase in Hong Kong (by Ksionic):

Apartment old spiral staircase

Classic Simple Spiral Staircase Design (by BLMurch):

Classic simple spiral stairs

Modern Asymmetrical Spiral Staircase (by Abi Skipp):

Asymmetrical modern spiral staircase

Haven’t had your fill of peering down into the void? Click through for more dizzying, stylish and sleek staircases of all kinds and creative, amazing and offbeat staircases from around the world.