Straight stair cases
Two possible situations of public exposure
Two styles of staircases
Two is the most influential factor in the construction and development of my design. In my final design, it is emphasized through two boxes (2 spaces), two types of staircases, two doors, two situations.
The boxes represent Ashley’s worlds. In my opinion, and through the narrative, she is confused and portrays to the world what they want of her – i.e. female. But beyond her social and public appearance, she feels that parts of her body, personality and inner self are not female. This experience makes her feel insecure about herself and who she is. Each day she attempts to break away from her norm to expose herself to the world, only to find she trapped, and scared because she knows the journey will be a long risky and twisted one.
The top tilted glass cube. The top tilted glass cube with a steel metal framework represents the world Ashley lives in everyday. It is where she is seen by all eyes of the public, and so feels she must present herself the way they want her to. Whilst it appears to be open, she is still trapped (symbolized by the glass) caged (framework) and isolated (small platform). It’s tilt resembles the imbalance of Ashley’s life and how she feels unstable and insecure.
The enclosed cube. The enclosed cube is symbolic of Ashley’s other world – her true world; the one that is hidden, real and more stable in her eyes (it is also who she really wants the world to accept her as). It stands as the base for the structure. And whilst it may be the one that is hidden and for Ashley, normal, it is also where she is most comfortable. In this space she is free and is open to more of life’s possibilities. This sense of possibility is further reinforced through the presence of two large doors (only available by travelling through the enclosed cube). There are two doors to represent the flash of her life situation, and stands as the last barrier before completely breaking free from the top tilted glass cube cage. As with the doors, being within this particular space, Ashley also has chances to change her decisions. This is represented by the two platforms , but more importantly by the second platform, which boasts two identical stair cases – one going up and the other going down (indicative of a life changing event).
The relationship of stairs.The stairs play a significant role in the understanding of my design. Returning to the concept of two, it is evident that there are two different types of stairs. From the top platform within the tilted glass cube down to the intersection of the two cubes, is a spiral staircase. This spiral staircase, as explained above represents risk, challenge and facing fears. Spiral because the experience is winding and confusing; in the corner of the stable cube to suggest feeling on edge; and complete freedom without hand rails to provide a feeling of the long lonely journey.
The other style of staircase is in the enclosed cube. This staircase is different and unique to the spiral staircase, not only because it is straight, but also because of the height is each step and length of their tread. Each step on this style of staircase represents every event of the journey in Ashley’s transition. The long tread is intentional as it is inevitable that her pace through the journey will be slow and long, and whilst she may be taking many steps, her place of destination still stands far away.
And as I explained, reaching the second platform, Ashley is given a choice to make the short journey back to the beginning or continue on the slow process to the end. If she continues along her path to re-discovery, her journey then becomes focused and immune to turning back.
Structural Placement. The only two places of public exposure also help reiterate my narrative quite strongly. The highest platform appears to be at the top of the entire composition, symbolizing Ashley’s public social standing, whereas the only other situation where Ashley can be publicly exposed appears hidden and at ground level representing a lower social standing and acceptance.