Rakvere Stairs

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Kavakava Architects

Project team

Siiri Vallner, Heidi Urb, Taavi Vallner (step formula)


Marika Stokkeby


Pikk 24, 44307 Rakvere


Completed, 2005


City of Rakvere


Heidi Urb, Martin Siplane


Industry & Infrastructure, Awarded, Historic, Landscape and Urban Planning, Public


Public, Refurbishment, Rakvere, Urban, Industrial & infrastructure, Landscape & urbanism, Infrastructure, Public space, Urban planning, Installation, Landscape design

The solution was to be simple, yet effective, to provide access and set the mood for meeting the historical castle above the city. The form emphasizes its peculiar setting, reaching the castle through backyards and vice versa.

The beginning of the stairs is very narrow with steps fit for dwarfs (the height of the first step is 3mm). Every next step is a fraction higher, wider and deeper. Reaching up, the steps are huge with the last one being 0.8m high and 1.6m deep. Climbing the stairs is a powerful physical experience.

The step formula is based on a mathematical function the diagram of which is the same as the cross-section of the hill. A specially designed computer program defined the dimensions of the steps. The solution proves that alternative approaches may be used even in the most standard conditions.