A mysterious staircase that some say is miraculous will be the focal point of a professional stairbuilders conference and the celebration of the organization’s three decades in existence.
The Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association (SMA) will host its annual conference and 30-year anniversary celebration April 25-28, 2018, in Santa Fe, NM, in the shadow of the Loretto Chapel, home of the “Miraculous Staircase,” some say built by St. Joseph himself. The staircase is a legacy of craftsmanship that Stairbuilders from around the U.S. and other parts of the world will gather to appreciate and examine.
Mysteries surrounding the "Miraculous Staircase" include who built it, how it was constructed, what supports it, and even what materials were used.
Legend has it that the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe was built in 1878 with no ready way to get from the chapel floor to the choir loft. The architect had died and left no plans for the stairs. Conventional stairs would have taken up too much space in the small chapel. Local carpenters were baffled as to a solution.
According to the legend, the sisters of the chapel prayed for a solution, and on the ninth day of their prayers, a man and a burro loaded with carpenters tools showed up. He built the double-helix circular staircase and disappeared without payment or thanks. Since then, people around the world have wondered at the seemingly physics-defying structure of the stairs.
Part of the conference will include a unique case study of the Loretto Staircase and the symposium will culminate with a welcome reception held in the Loretto Chapel, at the foot of the “Miraculous Staircase.”
Reflecting modern technology as well as past accomplishments, the SMA has chosen “The Sky’s the Limit” its conference theme.
Design professionals are invited to join the stair industry in a Stair Design and Engineering Symposium on April 26th, where they will earn AIA, Health, Safety, Welfare Learning units. The Symposium will include presentations related to structural properties of stairs and balustrades, design criteria, and regulatory issues. Presenters will include design professionals from public, commercial, and academic sectors.
Events on April 27-28 will include keynote presenter Chris Ramey of Home Trust, a noted expert in luxury marketing, as well as an energetic exhibit hall, code and standard development updates, breakout sessions with expert presenters, committee and annual business meetings, the StairCraft Awards Banquet and a special 30th anniversary “Sky’s the Limit” celebration and closing keynote.
Registration is open to all with interest in the stair industry. Complete details are available at http://stairways.org/Events/2018-SMA-Annual-Conference. Symposium and full conference options are available.
The SMA was founded in 1988 and is the only organization in the United States that represents dedicated professionals in the stairbuilding industry. The SMA provides educational opportunities for its members, architects, builders and building officials. In addition, SMA members find value in supporting the SMA’s active role in Building Code Development, ANSI Standard Development related to quality construction and use of stairways, SMA certification programs, Stair Skills education and networking and learning opportunities around the country in the form of shop tour workshops, and an annual conference.