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Modelling a staircase in a BIM project

Modelling a staircase in a BIM project: Marble & Bamboo

Modelling a staircase in a BIM project: here’s the step by step procedure implemented with Edificius and based on the Marble & Bamboo project

Reproducing the architectural solutions adopted in different projects with the aid of new tools can result to be a great advantage. Let’s take a look at this case study based on the Marble&Bamboo project ideated by the A-cero architectural design firm and see how to model and integrate a staircase connecting the living room to the upstairs sleeping area.

In our previous articles, we saw a few other interesting design aspects:

  • how to model an access ramp leading to the garage from the main road (read article);
  • how to model a sloped façade with a variable geometry (read article).

This time, we’ll have a quick look at how to model a staircase with a glass parapet and a steel handrail using the architectural BIM design software Edificius.

Marble & Bamboo: designing a staircase with a BIM software

The ground floor and the upper floor of this single-family residence are connected by an elegant internal staircase and built in perfect harmony with the surrounding architectural layout.
The polished steel handrail and a glass parapet neatly finish the entire staircase.

cross section-axonometric-MarbleBamboo-BIM-Edificius

Axonometric cross sectionw with staircase view

Staircase modelling

Integrating a  CAD software  (Edificius-CAD) to create the handrail profile that we are going to use as reference of the design. With a right-mouse button click on the CAD node (DWG,DXF), let’s now select the Add new option.
Then click the Edit DXF/DWF button available on the Multifunction toolbar at the top of the interface.

Edificius-selection-edit DXF-DWG-MarbleBamboo


At this stage, we can easily import a raster image of the handrail profile and use it as a background to trace over to generate the profile. This is a very familiar aspect because it involves using the traditional CAD commands, such as, (offset, cut, line, tangent arc, etc).


Handrail drawing with Efificius-CAD

Going back to Edificius, if we access the User BIM Objects Library, and select the “Profiles and Sections” category, we’ll add a new folder and then add a custom profile type. The new generic Profile box loaded, we can easily import the previously created CAD file based on the raster image. So let’s import the DWG of the handrail profile previously created.
Using the DWG as a background reference, we simply use the default profile to trace over the contour and specific commands, such as Convert to curve, etc, to generate the new Profile object.

The Green check-box confirms and exits the Edit mode and the profile is now ready for use in our modelling Environment.
From the properties toolbox we can select the Import profile function and simply select the previously created profile from the User-BIM Objects Library. Further editing tools allows us to add, delete or even move the start, intermediate and final poles.

Even more powerful editing tools allow the user to get into great detail providing a MagneticGrid for extra easy to use SNAP aids to model the main pole.
With the Solid Extrusion object, we’ll now choose a round profile to create the handrail poles.

Now from outside of the editor, we’ll select the railing object and insert the handrail selecting it from the User-BIM Objects Library.

Handrail- inserting

Handrail inserting

Designing the Parapet

Let’s define our MagneticGrid to generate appropriate snap nodes in order to easily set the glass parapet panels.

The three panels are used for modelling the glass parapet.
In the Project BIM-Objects Library, we can organise our panels into a specific set of folders to keep them ordered and easy to find for other design needs.
Clicking the Edit contour option, the 2D Graphics tools (parallel guideline) turn out to be very useful as a support for modelling the desired shape.

Let’s now switch to the more practical 3D viewing enviroment and insert the parapet objects using the previously defined MagneticGrid object for our spatial references. We’ll select the Panel tool and then choose the glass panels to insert in the model.

As a final touch for adding extra details to our parapet object, we’ll add the mounting brackets, essential for connecting the parapet to the staircase.
Again, we’ll use a MagneticGrid structure for each side of the steps to obtain the start and final snap nodes for the brackets.
The Solid Extrusion object comes in very useful for modelling these components, so we’ll use that with a round profile and insert them in the model using the MagneticGrid snap nodes.

Here is the final result with some rendered images created with Edificius.

Marble&Bamboo staircase

Marble&Bamboo staircase



Staircase lighting

Staircase lighting

This short video shows a summary of the various planning and modelling stages together with some Real Time Rendering views.


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