Glass staircase not dress friendly
A glass staircase is causing women to rethink taking the stairs.
June 9th, 2011
08:44 PM ET

Glass staircase not dress friendly

For years, women across America have dealt with glass ceilings. But now, women in Ohio have a new problem - glass floors.

A $105 million courthouse opened in Franklin County, Ohio, on Monday, but the builders seemed to have forgotten one thing - the bottom of the stairs, reports affiliate 10TV. The staircase is made of glass.

Dress wearers need to avoid taking the stairs, according to Franklin County Judge Julie Lynch, who wears dresses under her robes almost every day.

"I wear dresses because that's my personal choice," Lynch told 10TV. "When you stand under the stairwell, you can see right up through them.”

She speculates that men, who didn’t take half the population into account, designed the stairs.

Attorney Lori Johnson was startled by the transparent stairs. She worries not only about stares, but also how many cell phones have cameras attached.

“The next thing you know, you’re on the internet,” Johnson said, according to 10TV. “It sounds like a lawsuit in the making.”

While security guards warn women about taking the stairs, it seems most are just hoping people will be mature about the situation.

"They hope people will be mature? That's not a solution," Lynch said to 10TV. "If we had mature people that didn't violate the law, we wouldn't have this building."

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Filed under: Architecture • Courts • Justice • Ohio
soundoff (739 Responses)
  1. M

    Much adieu about nothing. An application of a solid film will frost the clear glass. A few hundred bucks plus labor. Problem solved.
    Buildings are never perfect and certainly never perfect the first few months. But bugs can be worked out and if the judge did her homework, she would know that most building construction budgets take into account these unexpected extras long before the structure is built. But this is a super, super cheap problem to fix!
    Also, she should be happy. That is one nice looking courthouse!

    June 10, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      I agree. That was the first thing I thought when I heard this. Seems like an easy fix. My guess, though, is they will do something drastic like replace the entire staircase or block people's ability to walk under it.

      June 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • minimalist

      The headline is misleading. Only the stair risers are glass. The treads appear to be stone or concrete. Which means these stairs are no different than the millions of other open riser stairs that have been built around the world for the last hundred or so years.

      June 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Brown

      I think you mean, "much ado about nothing". Not that a "few hundred bucks" is going to fix it.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • ...

      adieu? lol.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jay

    I went to Savannah College of Art and Design. When they built our new campus library, they put in crystal clear glass stairs. Besides being able to look straight up them, they caused vertigo for many people while climbing them. Within days they were roped off, and within weeks they were removed, sand blasted and reinstalled sporting a new "beach glass" look.

    June 10, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      I used to work at SCAD and this article reminded me of the same problem there with the stair in the library. They did "frost" the treads so nothing was visible if one looked up from under the stairs. I didn't realize people got dizzy while on these stairs, though.

      June 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cindy


    June 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Carpet? Isn't that what were trying to avoid looking up at?? (sorry, I just couldn't resist!)

      June 10, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. krish

    Judges wear dresses under the robe? They wear anything under the robe? I always thought they go al fresco under the robe. Hmmm.. you learn something new everyday!

    June 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Right

    Funny, I've seen thousands of staircases without risers just dead space. But if you put glass, people complain. Funny what makes the news!

    June 10, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • ssggoke

      The treads overlap more in the "open" stairs and the treads are often closer..

      June 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JImmy

    Glass stairs, glass ceiling... is there anything glass women don't have a problem with?

    June 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ruthie

      .... we also have problems with glass jawed guys like you JIMMAYYYY

      June 10, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Pursey

    What about the people that don't like heights. A glass bottom could give them a feeling of failing. A lawsuit in the waiting, if they don't get there heads together and fix it.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • vbscript2

      They don't have a glass bottom. The article is completely misleading. Only the risers are glass. Lots of stair cases don't even have risers.

      June 10, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Aaron

    One word...paint.

    June 10, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LAM1278

    Why don't they just "frost" them, then you can't see through them?

    June 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • lenore

      My thoughts exactly!

      June 10, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ruthie

    sounds like stair treads are in order! Men! One step forward, two backwards, honestly.

    June 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • hingedlwnb

      Stair treads are not needed since only the risers are glass. This article is very misleading and Judge Julie is a moron. Read the last few pages of comments and you will see for yourself. Now excuse while I continue to step forward right on by you.

      June 10, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kristen

    Wait, there's still a courthouse in the USA that allows cell phones and cameras inside it? Not in Virginia!

    Men also probably designed paved walkways with all those cracks, because stiletto heels do NOT go well with them.

    June 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • BH

      I hope you're joking; sidewalks have cracks so they can be molded one frame at a time and not have to dry all at once. They segment them for practicality. Now that I say that, they probably were designed by men.

      June 10, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • M.Arch Student

      They also have the cracks for expanding and contracting during the changing of seasons. Ever hear your house creak at night? It's because it's getting colder outside and the materials are contracting. These same sounds go on throughout the day when they expand but you don't hear them because the tv is going, or a lawnmower; people are busy moving around while it's quiet enough to hear them at night. Concrete is no different.

      June 11, 2011 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. Beamer Smith

    I would think that just using the stairs for a few weeks will scuff them up enough to frost em up.

    June 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. vbscript2

    Agreed with the below comments. This article is misleading and this is a ridiculous non-issue. As the video points out, the *risers*, not the treads, are transparent. Lots of stair cases don't even have risers. If it really is a problem, they could just paint or frost the risers for less than what they pay that gaurd to stand there warning people about the stairs for one day.

    June 10, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. GetReal

    As others have pointed out, what about stairs with no risers, just solid treads, as these have? One could only potentially look up at approximately a 45 degree angle anyway. If any particular woman is wearing skirts so short that an extra inch or two worries them, they should be more worried about getting in and out of cars/cabs or even sitting down. Any negative reaction to these stairs falls squarely into the 'ridiculous' category.

    June 10, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kate

    The guard warnings do not solve the problem and are a waste of a salaried employee. Instead, building should invest in some fabric, and anchor it to the underside of the steps so the people cannot look up into the staircase. The fabric colors can then be changed seasonally so that the glass on the steps becomes a beautiful decorative accent for the building. Certainly less expensive than hiring a full time guard to warn women about the stairs, or changing the architecture of the steps. It would permanently solve this problem and enable all women to confidently use the stairs.

    June 10, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
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