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Remembering

May 02, 2024

In Memoriam: The BSA Green Staircase

Howeleryoon from first floor

Photo by Andy Ryan.

Gone, but not forgotten.

We are sad to say that the green staircase, the sculptural centerpiece of the BSA Space, has officially been removed. What remained as of Thursday, May 2, 2024, lovingly been referred to as “The Hole” by the Staff (actually just me and yes I did peek through the construction barrier ventilation) has now been filled with concrete. The hole in our hearts, however, will remain.

In honor of this removal process nearing completion, we will be telling the story of this iconic structure in 4 installments.

Design

When the BSA moved to the Atlantic Wharf building in 2011, it brought the era of the BSA SPACE. Hosting exhibitions, programs, and events to foster connection within and across industry and community, the Space itself has been a key feature of the organization.

The staircase and floorplan are the work of Boston-based Höweler + Yoon Architecture (Eric Höweler, FAIA, and J. Meejin Yoon) upon winning the 2010 design competition overseen by the BSA Board of Directors. The design concept draws on a highly visible ‘cloud’ ceiling weaving through the Space, creating a “single gesture of a soffit, a stair, and a billboard” that makes the Space recognizable to the public.


Fabrication

The solid steel monumental staircase, installed in fall 2011, was fabricated from a single sheet in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Couturier Iron Craft created the high quality, fluid structure we all know and love today.


Installation

Before installation could begin, The Hole was created in what would be a smooth transition between floors for the stairs to flow through and create a sense of openness in the Space.

Below you can see architect Eric Höweler surveying what was then the newly cut stair opening from the first floor of the new BSA Space, October 2011.


The stairs were then expertly craned into place by the construction team at Commodore Builders.


Once installed, the stairs were given a fresh coat of paint in what has since become the titular shade of green representing the BSA.



Read the next installment (Part 2/4) here.

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