Maria-Ward-Schulen Wendeltreppe

Ellipsoidal design for spiral staircase

Bespoke sculptural staircase

The aesthetic steel sculpture extends as an ellipsoidal spiral staircase over three storeys in the new building of the Maria Ward School.

Project description

Outstanding educational concept for girls’ school

The holistic approach to the design of the Nuremberg educational institution, which was officially opened in June 2022, is based on the simple motto “As outside, so inside” and combines architecture and interior design to an impressive overall ensemble. As an English nun in the 16th century, Maria Ward, who gave the building its name, knew to implement this philosophy with her open, honest and clear attitude in her visionary life’s work. With the new extension of the state-recognised private school, the Archdiocese of Bamberg realises innovative pedagogical learning and interior concepts and offers an excellent learning environment for 1,200 pupils. Clear lines and six-metre-long windows characterise the compact building structure. Shredded clinker bricks from the former school were used in the façade. Vertical brass-clad bars in the auditorium bring fresh air from the roof into the building. The initials of the school’s name-giver embellish the entrance doors, steps and brass claddings inside the hypermodern complex, which combines primary school, secondary school and grammar school with a multiple sports hall and accessible green roof terraces.

Spiral staircase in the heart of the building

The centrepiece of the atrium is the custom-made connecting staircase in elliptical shape, which serves as main staircase linking three floors and combining the highest level of craftsmanship with ambitious design and special creative features. Despite the immense amount of steel used, the spiral staircase has a filigree appearance and blends homogeneously into the clear, light-flooded architecture of the building. An oval steel landing visually and functionally complements the foot of the spiral staircase. MetallArt constructed transparent, parapet-high all-glass railings for the three upper floors. By means of complex 3D construction planning with freely selectable views, the spiral staircase was previously visualised in close cooperation with all project partners and adapted to the innovative overall architectural concept.

Gewendelte Treppe Maria-Ward-Schulen
Image gallery
Project details

Spiral staircase and all-glass ceiling balustrades

  • self-supporting three-storey spiral staircase in ellipsoidal layout
  • 1,120 mm high, ellipsoidal running flat-steel stringers
  • particularly harmonious course of the curved lower and upper edges of the parapet-high stringers
  • steel treads as closed folded/box-type construction
  • light cove realised with an L-shape steel section to finish the upper edge on the outer stringer
  • rounded handrail on both sides for the spiral staircase
  • three-step landing construction with glass floor on the ground level
  • 1,120 mm high all-glass balustrades on the slab edges 1st-3rd floor, inserted in the glass pockets of the ceiling frames, top-attached wooden handrails.

Soffit cladding for sculptural effect

  • smooth-faced, structurally supporting steel cladding of the curved soffit
  • runs according to the elliptical stringer of the spiral staircase
  • exactly flush-welded steel sheets between the stringers
  • homogeneous appearance for the spiral staircase

Sophisticated assembly strategy for spiral staircase

  • precise coordination and planning between construction and production teams already in the conception stage
  • exact balancing and production of the 3 staircase parts in consideration of the mounting points (assembly by crane)
  • insertion with state-of-the-art technology and highly qualified employees, temporary fixation by supports and subsequent final fastening and connection to the ceiling edges

Further services by MetallArt

In addition to comprehensive verifiable structural engineering services, vibration verification for the spiral staircase and general test certificate by the German building authorities (AbP) for the all-glass railings, MetallArt carried out numerous other services for this project: steel ceiling railings and frames in the atrium, ceiling edge cladding and air-conditioning drillings as well as steel railings, handrails, glass railings, glass coverings and floors and platform constructions for the five stairwells of the school.

H2M Architekten + Stadtplaner GmbH, Kulmbach