The Octagon Washington DC 2nd Floor Stair Hall

 
 
The Octagon
Staircase Landing -- The Octagon’s curving staircase serves equally well both aesthetic and practical purposes. The staircase acts like a chimney, or flue, not only to ventilate the entire house, but also to distribute warm and cool air throughout the house. Imagine it’s a warm summer day and that the windows and front and back doors are opened to let in a breeze. The air will flow into the house and push lighter, warmer air upstairs and out through the windows on the upper floor. What’s happening is called a stack effect. It’s similar to the way we get logs burning in a fireplace. The heat of the burning logs rises above the chimney and out of the house. As it does so, it pulls the cooler air from the floor into the fireplace. Like the fireplace, the central staircase in the Octagon promotes a convection current that draws in fresh air from the outside and pushes out the stale interior air. All that happens naturally, without fans, air conditioners, or furnaces.
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