Tiffany Gallery Glass Staircase

Structural Designer

GL&SS - Glass Light and Special Structures

Client Name

New York Historical Society


New York, United States of America

Clifford Chapman Staircase

Eva Jiricna Architects-Eva Jiricna, Duncan Webster, Georgina Papathanasiou

Trend Marine

DPA Lightning - David Moore

Glass Light and Special Structures Limited – Tim Macfarlane, Marco Rossi, Irene Fava


A central feature for a new gallery housing the collection of Tiffany Lamps bequeathed to the New York Historical Society. The single flight is gently curved on plan with each tread supported on cantilever glass fins. The treads and fins are laminated from heat strengthened glass and the stainless steel connectors have been designed to complement the minimal design aesthetic. 

Judge's comment:

This remarkable staircase is only possible through design development by Glass Light and Special Structures through successive projects, application of advanced glass technology and meticulous detailing.
The vertical fins that support the treads and risers are suspended from the floor above with the base of the fins restrained laterally while allowing up to 20mm vertical movement.
The risers cantilevering from the fins are not separate glass elements. This arrangement created a clumsy intersection between riser and fin. Instead the idea of cutting the riser and fin out of one sheet of glass was proposed. It was only made possible through the use of prestressing using chemical toughening as opposed to conventional heat toughening that was ruled out due to the element geometry.

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