Access areas usually have a clearly defined function: they lead people from A to B and provide orientation. But sometimes ramps, staircases and corridors acquire qualities that go beyond this intended use to add further layers of meaning. Instead of leading straight to the goal, in such cases the path itself becomes more the focus of attention. It becomes independent, even though it can never fully detach itself from its intended use.
The documentations in our May issue present exemplary projects whose architecture activates access areas, giving them additional qualities beyond pure function. We show staircases that lend urban edifices a distinctive look by aesthetically connecting old and new in renovations, or which contribute to striking interiors with their sculptural appearance. Our essay examines the ramp as a type of access zone, providing historical and contemporary architectural references. Our technology feature on elevator concepts rounds out the issue thematically with a view to the possibilities for circulation in high-rise buildings.