With Nike Rosebank we had to overcome some interesting challenges to connect the two store levels, which sit almost perpendicular to each other, with a single vertical integration system. Due to the positioning of the two levels, this meant that the staircase would be at the forefront of our trading space on the ground floor and a conventional staircase design would consume a very large portion of our trading floor area, these are both limiting factors when you consider that retail rental space in Rosebank comes at a high cost and every effort is made to maximize ROI.

Finding the right solution for this store put us on a very lengthy design process (almost 4 months), where we tested multiple staircase designs and configurations between the Nike Designers in Europe, our local Architectural Partners (TCRPv) and CADCON in South Africa.

The Nike Designers drew inspiration from European multi-level residential structures that have limited floor area to accommodate conventional staircase designs and as such make use of spiral staircases to connect the levels. These staircases are often quite minimalistic in design and don’t have to carry multiple occupants simultaneously unlike retail environments, so in order to beef up our design to carry the weight of simultaneous users, we had to develop a unit that was structurally sound without becoming overly weighted (from a visual sense) with heavy and multiple support posts, we wanted the consumer to be able to experience both levels of the store as they used the staircase and not feel as if they are navigating through a silo. We transitioned the timber floor finishes from the First Floor environment onto the staircase treads to give the unit a softness and to help us link the two gender split retail spaces.

These factors brought us to the design that you get to experience in the store, a structure that consists of mild steel plates running on two separate stringers, with its full weight (about 4 tons) being carried on only two foot plates. Over and above the staircase design, there was also major structural work done to the existing Basement and First Floor level slabs to give us the opening to see the ground floor as you descended the staircase and to give us the support to carry this staircase mass.
This spiral staircase is certainly a first for Nike across our global footprint of retail stores and I think can safely say that there is no other retail space in South Africa that uses this unconventional vertical integration method.
It was both challenging and eye-opening to see this structure being designed, manufactured, delivered and installed, while still constructing a retail space around it, definitely something I will always remember. – Europe

What is the purpose of the structure/ project?

The staircase was a critical architectural element in the Nike Store as this needed to be an element which would both physically and visually connect the two floors and in order for the store to maintain a sense of “connection” and “cohesiveness” despite the store being split over 2 levels. In terms of the stores overall design, the staircase had to make a statement; one which would create a sense of interest (spatially) but also be inviting to shoppers to explore whilst also strengthened the flow and movement through the store and irrespective of the change in floors. Careful thought and consideration was given to the ergonomics of the staircase to ensure that more than one person could travel between the levels simultaneously.

• What was the brief to the architect?

One of the biggest challenges with the Nike Rosebank store was to successfully connect the two store levels as there was limited opportunity, and area, where the floors could overlap. The existing slab construction and extent of existing services further limited the staircases positioning. Ultimately through careful co-ordination and team work, a possible position was identified at the front of the store, ideal for maximum visibility to shoppers, but now further restricted by the glazing line of the actual store, but which was ultimately overcome by the compact stair design which you see today.

• Was the project envisaged in steel from the start? If not – why was it built in steel in the end?

Yes, steel was always envisaged as the preferred material for the stairs.
We believe that the flexibility and durability of steel adds a dynamic element to a building project, allowing designers to think outside the box.

• Give a brief description of the structural framing. What type of sections were used and why?

It was important to Nike that the structural design of the stair would not detract from the greater “sculptural element” that we needed to achieve. To achieve this, the following needed to happen;
• The balustrade and stringers needed to be made seamless.
• Due to the distance in height between the two floors, a landing was required to ensure a comfortable journey between floors. This concept although simple, complicated the structural design of the staircase.
• The risers needed to be designed as open to keep the structure visually as “light” as possible.
• Each tread needed to be bent from a single metal sheet so as to avoid unnecessary joints and junctions.
• The treads needed to be filled with concrete to stabilize and mitigate the vibrations whilst walking between floors walking. It is noticeable how solid the staircase feels when a person is walking on it.

Project motivation editorials are provided by the project nominator. If any technical details, company names or product names are incorrect, please notify the SAISC so that the error can be corrected.

Physical address of the project   


Street Address  





Oxford Street

The Zone


GPS Co-ordinates    


Completion date of steelwork  20/11/2019 
 Completion date of full project  30/11/2019 
Tons of structural steel used  3 Tons 
Structural profiles used  Combination of Platework and Tubular 

If you were a part of this project, and your company details are incorrect or missing – please notify the SAISC so that the error can be corrected.