Open tread staircases were included by the architects in a select number of penthouse apartments to make the Erskineville, NSW development stand out above the crowd.

Designed by DKO Architects, the Sugarcube Apartments and Honeycomb Terraces are located in one of Sydney’s most sought after neighbourhoods. While open tread staircases are not a novelty, using engineered timber to achieve them was certainly an innovation.

Style Timber Floor was specified for Sugarcube Apartments and Honeycomb Terraces when the architectural drawings were still being finalised.

“When we knew the detail and the design of the staircase, the challenge was achieving the open tread with only one wall to work with,” said Tilly Cefai from Style Timber.

Once Style Timber was provided the brief for the open tread staircases, they began working on creating them using engineered timber.

“Not only is this an open tread staircase, there is also just one wall, so we needed to use an open stringer, which isn’t attached to the stairs. For this, we also needed to manufacture a steel frame to support the stairs, which couldn’t attach to the frameless glass,” explained Jack Wang from Style Timber.

“As engineered timber is made up of cross plywood, it was necessary to use all mitre cuts to make each stair tread. This job required very precise cutting and installation in order to achieve the finishes,” he added.

The resulting staircases are sleek and modern, fitting perfectly with the aesthetic of the Sugarcube apartments.

Traditional staircases were designed for the Honeycomb Terraces, using Style Timber’s engineered flooring. Though these staircases weren’t as complicated as the open tread stairs, the use of engineered timber had its own challenges.

For instance, the nosing for engineered timber stairs can be a complex process unlike solid timber stairs, which can be routed onsite. The nosing for engineered timber stairs needs to be done by a joiner, and is a very detailed task.

DKO Architects chose to work with engineered timber throughout the Sugarcube Apartments and Honeycomb Terraces, helping achieve a seamless appearance across the flooring and staircases – this is not always possible when using mixed materials such as engineered oak for the floors and hardwood for the stairs.

Engineered timber boards from Style Timber’s Milano Collection were used in the project in White Wash and Champagne colours.

Style note:

Anything is possible with engineered timber, even open stair treads. By using engineered timber for staircases, you will be able to match the staircases to the entire project, instead of using hardwood and hoping to stain it a similar colour.