Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book: The Portland Stairs Book

I really only meant to pick up a few knitting magazines today, but I picked up The Portland Stairs Book while I was in checkout. I couldn't bring myself to put it down. I was in love with it from the title alone. Then I saw the photos of stairs all over the city, so many I still need to explore. Also convincing: two pictures of cats and a chart with the location and exact number of steps to climb. This is perfect for me. Now I can see if my counts are correct!

I can definitely see this as a useful tool in planning our weekly walks. No more aimless wandering (well, we weren't completely aimless) we can now reference this book and pick the oldest/tallest/most refined/steepest. Stairs are also grouped nicely into different types: stairs with a story, stairs for sitting, etc.  I especially like the stairs in public spaces section which features grand staircases in theater and government buildings. The author has put a lot of thought into all the different ways in which the stairs of Portland can be used.

There's a section on stair vocabulary, nice for those unfamiliar. For me, this was pretty completely covered in my architectural education so I like that that's towards the back and only a few pages in length. (For more extensive information on the subject, spend time with books by Frank Ching.) The book also features 5 treks with maps. I have a couple of books with this kind of map, and I always wonder if I'll ever actually do one of the routes per the book. Even if I piece it together over time, there is still a lot of handy information in there. You can't ever go wrong with maps.

In case you can't tell I'm pretty excited about finding this book! Even more so since she mentioned the view of the March & October skies as part of the payoff for getting to the tops of the stairs. We've definitely experienced some of that, but I'm hoping it holds up into April so I can see a little bit more of it. Maybe next time from the tallest set of stairs in town?

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