Aligned alongside floating steps that bring you right up next to your favorite volumes whenever you walk up or down, this lovely storage system organizes space as well as books.

This Rotterdam townhouse is tall and narrow, but by pushing storage to the side, Shift enabled it to feel bright and open with continuously-flowing, open-riser stairs.

By pulling the steps back from the bookcases, each shelving box is allowed to float free and feel more like the first priority in the design from which everything else follows.

And it is more than just a visual effect: these cases are in fact part of the structural system of the overall house, replacing a load-bearing central wall down its middle.

From the architects:

“This so called do-it-yourself dwelling in the centre of Rotterdam is part of a bold experiment initiated by the municipality to revitalize dilapidated urban areas. Run-down pre-war dwellings are renovated on the outside and brought back to their monumental appearance, while the interiors are stripped bare.”

“The empty shell dwellings are primarily bought by enthusiastic young people who transform them according to their specific needs, desires and budgets. Real estate developers have picked up the initiative and a new demand driven market of urban housing has been generated in recent years. The result is a growing number of contemporary custom-made dream houses within the uniform old fabric of the traditional nineteenth and early twentieth century city.”

“Vertical loft is a house without walls, where the three floors are stitched together into one continuous space. One oversized closet connects all the floors and functions as a storage device for the whole house. This piece of XXL-furniture, measuring 10 meters in length and 9 meters in height, replaces the load bearing middle wall of the original house. Its modular system integrates kitchen appliances, bookshelves, wardrobe, and a walk in closet.”