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of a room, add the length, breadth, and height of the room together, and extract the squarc root of that sum, and half that root will be the height of the chimney." The third rule he gives is, " To find the depth of a chimney from any given magnitude, including the breadth and height of the same, add the breadth and height of the chimney together, take one fourth of that sum, and it is the depth of the chimney.” His fourth and last rule is, “ Tu find the side of a square or funnel proportioned to clear the smoke from any given depth of the chimney, take three fourths of the given depth, and that sum is the side of the square of the funnel. Observe, only, that in cube rooms the height is equal to the breadth, and the foregoing rules are universal.” The rules given by Chambers are extremely vague and general. He says that “in the smallest apartments the width of the aperture is never made less than from three feet to three feet six inches; in rooms from twenty to twentyfour feet square, or of equal superficial dimensions, it may be four feet wide; in those of twenty-five to thirty, from four to four and a half; and in such as exceed these dimensions, the aperture may be extended to five or five feet six inches ; but should the room be extremely large, as is frequently the case of halls, galleries, and salons, and one chimney of these dimensions neither afford sufficient heat to warm the room nor sufficient space round it for the company, it will be much more convenient, and far handsomer, to have two chimney pieces of a moderate size than a single one exceedingly large, all the parts of which would appear clumsy and disproportioned to the other decorations of the room." It is well so to place the chimney as that persons on entering a room may at once see it. In this climate a cheerfulness is imparted by the sight of a fire; but it is not to be so placed as to be opposite a door, neither ought it, if possible to be avoided, to be so placed as to have a door on either side of it. There are, however, circumstances under which even the last-named category cannot be avoided, but it is always well if it can. 'The fact is, that the further the door can, generally speaking, be removed from a chimney, the better; and the architect must, if the plan admit it (and he ought so to distribute his parts), avoid all cross draughts of air in a room. Angular chimneys are only admissible in small rooms where space and other considerations permit no other means of introducing a chimney. We can hardly think it necessary to say, with Chambers, that “whenever two chimneys are introduced in the same room they must be regularly placed, either directly facing each other, if in different walls, or at equal distances from the centre of the wall in which they hoth are placed. He observes, however, with a proper caution to the student, that "the Italians frequently put their chimneys in the front walls, between the windows, for the benefit of looking out while sitting by the fire; but this must be avoided, for by so doing that side of the room becomes crowded with ornaments, and the other sides are left too bare ; the front walls are much weakened by the funnels, and the chimney shafts at the top of the building, which must necessarily be carried higher than the ridges of the roofs, have, from their great length, a very disagreeable effect, and are very liable to be blown down." All these objections, however, may be easily answered, and the funnels collected, or shafts, as they then become, be, with skill, made even ornamental to a building. It is in cases like these that the power of the architect above the artisan is manifest.
2793. Where the walls of a building are sufficiently thick, their funnels rise within the thickness of the walls, but in walls of a mean thickness this cannot be accomplished, for under such circumstances the walls and chimney pieces will necessarily project into the rooms, and if the break be great, the effect is unpleasant; but this may always be obviated by making arched recesses on each side, which, in commoner rooms, may be occupied by presses or closets, thus enabling the architect to carry the cornice unbroken round the room, a point which should never be forgotten, inasmuch as by the cornice or entablature of the apartment being carried round it without a break, which gives the ceiling an unbroken and regular form, a regularity is preserved infinitely more satisfactory to the eye than the disagreeable appearance of a broken, and, we may say, disjointed cornice.
2794. Of the materials employed in the construction of chimney pieces, nothing more is requisite than to say that the costliness of the material must follow the wealth of the founder of the building. Marble, however, is the material usually employed, and the various sorts known are not unfrequently intermixed, so as to produce a pleasing effect. When the aid of the sculptor is called in, much latitude is allowed in the proportions; but on this head we hope we may, without prejudice, deliver our opinion, that the effect has never amounted to anything like what might have been expected from his extraneous aid; and the solution is easy: his object is not to produce a work in harmony with the apartment, but rather to exhibit his own powers.
2795. In the external appearance of chimney shafts, so as to group them with the building to which they belong, no architect can be put in competition with Sir John Vanbrugh. Those of Blenheim, Castle Howard, and other of his buildings, exceed all praise, and deserve the closest investigation of the student. They become in his works, as they always should do, parts of the building, inseparably connected with it, and their removal would detract from the majesty of the structure with which they are connected. On this point we are certain that the best advice that can be given to the student is a constant
contemplation of the works of Vanbrugh. In these days there seems to be a return to good feeling in this respect ; and we hope it will, for the credit of the English school, be followed up.
STAIRCASES. 2796. A staircase is an enclosure formed by walls or partitions, or both, for the reception of an ascent of stairs, with such landings as may be necessary. Of the construction of stairs we have treated in previous sections; this will be confined to general observations on them and their enclosures.
2797. Scarcely any subdivision of a building is of more importance, as respects the character of the architect and the comfort and pleasant occupancy of it by his employer, than its principal and subordinate staircases. There is, moreover, no part, perhaps, in which more room is left for architectural and picturesque display. In our own country there are some extraordinary examples of great beauty produced in staircases on comparatively small scales; whence the student may learn that without great space he may produce very imposing effects. One of these may be still seen, though in a very neglected state, as are most of the buildings attached to the collegiate church of Westminster, at one of the prebendal houses there built by our great master Jones. It is a specimen of his consummate skill as an artist, and well worth the attention of the student, if he can obtain admittance to view it; but if he cannot, we may refer him to some plates executed from drawings made by us many years since, and published in the first and best edition of Illustrations of the Public Buildings of London (Lond. 1828). The extreme space occupied by the staircase in question does not exceed 24 by 23 feet; and within these small dimensions he contrived a staircase fit for a palace. So highly did the late Sir John Soane think of this bijou that he had a series of drawings made to illustrate its parts, and exhibited them in his lectures at the Royal Academy.
2798. It is almost unnecessary to impress upon the student that an excess rather than a deficiency of light is requisite in a staircase, and that it should be easily accessible from all parts of the building. Those laws upon which the ease of persons ascending and descending depend will form the subject of two subsections shortly following (2804. and 2814.), to which we particularly recommend the reader's attention. They are of the utmost importance, and we record with surprise that they have not been attended to by architects generally of late years. We have crept up staircases in houses of consequence, which deserved little more than the name of ladders, and we are sorry to say that this defect is found even in the works of Chambers himself; but never in those of Jones and Wren. We shall with these remarks proceed to further observations on the subject, which has already been partially touched upon in 2176. et seq.
2799. We know little of the staircases of the Greeks and Romans, and it is remarkable that Vitruvius makes no mention of a staircase, as an important part of an edifice; indeed his silence seems to lead to the conclusion that the staircases of antiquity were not constructed with the luxury and magnificence to be seen in more recent buildings. The best preserved ancient staircases are those constructed in the thickness of the walls of the pronaos of temples for ascending to the roofs. Of this sort remains are found in several peripteral temples. That of the temple of Concord at Agrigentum is still entire, and consists of forty-one steps. According to Pausanias, similar staircases existed in the temple of the Olympian Jupiter at Elis. They were generally winding and spiral, like the inside of a shell, and hence are called scale a lumaca by the Italians, and by the French escaliers en limaçon. Sometimes, as in the Pantheon at Rome, instead of being circular on the plan, they are triangular; so were they in the temple of Peace, and in the baths of Dioclesian.
2800. Very few vestiges of staircases are to be seen in the ruins of Pompeii ; from which it may be inferred that what there were must have been of wood, and, moreover, that few of the houses were more than one story in height. Where they exist, as in the building at the above place called the country house, and some others, they are narrow and inconvenient, with steps sometimes a foot in height. Occasionally, too, we find private staircases mentioned, as in the description of Pliny's Tusculan villa, where one was placed by the side of the dining room, and appropriated to the use of the slaves who served the repast.
2801. The author of the article “ Escalier” in the Encyc. Method. observes that the magnificence of the staircase was but tardily developed in modern architecture, and that it owed inuch of its luxury to the perfection to which a knowledge of stereotomy brought the science of masonry. The manners too and the customs of domestic life for a length of time rendered unnecessary more than a staircase of very ordinary description. Thus in the earliest palaces the staircases seem to have been constructed for the use of the inha
bitants only, possessing in fact no more beauty than we now give to a back staircase. They are for the most part dark, narrow, and inconvenient. Even in Italy, which in the splendour of its buildings preceded and surpassed all the other nations of Europe, the staircase was, till a late period, extremely simple in the largest and grandest palaces. Such are the staircases of the Vatican, Bernini's celebrated one being comparatively of a late date. The old staircases of the Tuilleries and of the Louvre, though on a considerable scale, are, froin their simplicity, construction, and situation, little in unison with the richness of the rest of these palaces. And this was the consequence of having the state apartments on the ground floor. When they were removed to a higher place, the staircase which condueted to them necessarily led to a correspondence of design in it.
2802. It will be observed that our observations in this section are confined to internal staircases. Large flights of steps, such as those at the Trinità de' Monti and Araceli at Rome, do not come within our notice, being unrestricted in their extent, and scarcely subject to the general laws of architectural composition. In these it should however be remembered that they must never rise in a continued series of steps from the bottom to the summit, but must be provided with landings for resting places, as is usually the case in the half and quarter spaces of internal stairs. An extremely fine example of an external flight of stairs may be cited in those descending from the terrace to the orangery at Versailles. For simplicity, grandeur, design, and beauty of construction, we scarcely know anything in Europe more admirable than this staircase and the orangery to which it leads.
2803. The selection of the place in which the staircase of a dwelling is to be seated, requires great judgment, and is always a difficult task in the formation of a plan. Palladio, the great master of the moderns, thus delivers the rules for observance in planning them, that they may not be an obstruction to the rest of the building. He says, “ A particular place must be marked out, that no part of the building should receive any prejudice by them. There are three openings necessary to a staircase. The first is the doorway that leads to it, which the more it is in sight the better it is; and I highly approve of its being in such a place that before one comes to it the best part of the house may be seen, for although the house be small, yet by such arrangement it will appear larger : the door, however, must be obvious, and easy to be found. The second opening is that of the windows through which the stairs are lighted; they should be in the middle, and large enough to light the stairs in every part. The third opening is the landing place by which one enters into the rooms above; it ought to be fair and well ornamented, and to lead into the largest places first."
2804. “ Staircases," continues our author, “ will be perfect, if they are spacious, light, and easy to ascend; as if, indeed, they seemed to invite people to mount.
They will be clear, if the light is bright and equally diffused; and they will be sufficiently ample, if they do not appear scanty and narrow in proportion to the size and quality of the building. Nevertheless, they ought never to be narrower than 4 feet" (4 feet 6 inches English *), “ so that two persons meeting on the stairs may conveniently pass each other. They will be convenient with respect to the whole building, if the arches under them can be used for domestic purposes; and commodious for the persons going up and down, if the stairs are not too steep nor the steps too high. Therefore, they must be twice as long as broad. The steps ought not to exceed 6 inches in height; and if they be lower they must be so to long and continued stairs, for they will be so much the easier, because one needs not lift the foot so high ; but they must never be lower than 4 inches." (These are Vicentine inches.) “ The breadth of the steps ought not to be less than a foot, nor more than a foot and a half. The ancients used to make the steps of an odd number, that thus beginning to ascend with the right foot, they might end with the same foot, which they took to be a good omen, and a greater mark of respect so to enter into the temple. It will be sufficient to put eleven or thirteen steps at most to a flight before coming to a half-pace, thus to help weak people and of short breath, as well that they may there have the opportunity of resting as to allow of any person falling from above being there caught.” We do not propose to give examples of other than the most usual forms of staircases and stairs; their variety is almost infinite, and could not even in their leading features be compassed in a work like this. The varieties, indeed, would not be usefully given, inasmuch as the forms are necessarily dependent on the varied circumstances of each plan, calling upon the architect almost on every occasion to invent pro re nata.
2805. Stairs are of two sorts, straight and winding. Before proceeding with his desigil, the architect must always take care, whether in the straight or winding staircase, that the person ascending has what is called headway, which is a clear distance measured vertically from any step, quarter, half-pace, or landing, to the underside of the ceiling, step, or other part immediately over it, so as to allow the tallest person to clear it with his hat on; and this is the minimum height of headway that can be admitted. To return to the straight and winding staircase, it is to be observed, that the first may be divided into two flights, or be
• The Vicentine foot is about 13.6 inches English.
Pig. 996. made quite square, so as to turn on the four sides round a close or open newel, as in fig. 995. in which the former is the case, light being obtained by windows in the walls which enclose the newel ; or, as in fig. 996. : in which case, the newel is open, and the light may be received either from a vertical light above, or from side windows in the walls. Palladio says these two sorts of stairs were invented by Sig. Ludovico Cornaro, a gentleman of much genius, who erected for himself a magnificent palace at Padua.
2806. Of winding or spiral stairs, some are circular on the plan, either open or with a solid newel; others elliptical, also with open or solid newels. Those with the open newel are preferable, because of their allowing the staircase to be lighted additionally, if requisite, by the light obtainable from above; besides which, persons passing up and down may see each other. Palladio thus directs the setting out of spiral staircases.“ Those,” he says, “ which have a newel in the middle are made in this manner. The diameter being divided into three parts, two are given for the steps, and the third is for the newel ; or, otherwise, the diameter may be divided into seven parts, three of which are for the newel and four for the steps. “ Thus,” he says, “ was made the staircase of the column of Trajan at Rome ; and if the stairs are made circular,” (that is, the treads segments of circles on the plan,) " they will be handsomer and longer" (of course) “ than if made straight."
2807. “ But as it may happen that the space will not give room for these measures, the diameter may be reduced and divided according to the plates.” The essence of these plans, omitting the step whose plan is segmental, we here subjoin.
2808. Fig. 997. is a plan and section of a staircase with a solid newel, in which the whole diameter is divided into twelve parts, and of these four are given to the newels and the remainder divided equally between the steps.
2809. Fig. 998. is the plan and section of a spiral staircase with an open newel, wherein the diameter is divided into four parts, two being given to the newel, and the remainder equally divideil between the steps.
2816. Fig. 999. is the plan and section of an elliptical staircase with an open newel. The conjugate diameter is divided into four parts, whereof two are given to the conjugate diameter of the newel, and the remainder one on each side to the steps.
2811. In fig. 1000. the same staircase is given, but with a solid newel, and of course requiring many openings on the sides to light it.
2812. It is not the difficulty of multiplying the examples of staircases which prevents our proceeding on this head, but the space into which our work is to be condensed. Enough of example has been given, by using portions of the examples, to meet every case, the decoration being dependent on the design of the architect, and the distribution on his good sense in the application of what we have submitted to him.
2813. There is, however, one important point in the construction of a staircase to which we must now advert, and that is easiness of ascent. Blondel, in his Cours d'Architecture, was, we believe, the first architect who settled the proper relation between the height and width of steps, and his theory, for the truth whereof, though it bears much appearanee of it, we do not pledge ourselves, is as follows.
2814. Let x - the space over which a person walks with ease upon a level plane, and z=the height which the same person could with equal ease ascend vertically. Then if h be :he height of the step, and w its width, the relation between h and w must be such that when w = x, h=0, and when h= 2, w=0. These conditions are fulfilled by equations of the form h=} (x – w) and w=X – 2h. Blondel assumes 24 (French) inches for the value of x, and 12 for that of 2. We are not sufficiently, from experiment, convinced that these are the proper values; but, following him, if those values be substituted in the equation h=1 (24 – ® ), and w=24–2h: if the height of a step be 5 inches, its width should be 24 - 10= 14 inches, and it must be confessed that experience seems to confirm the theory, for it must be obe kerved, and every person who has built a staircase will know the fact, that the merely