Architecture, ChÃ¢teau de Chambord, Double Helix, Leonardo da Vinci, Staircase
model illustrating the staircase’s design
The royal ChÃ¢teau de Chambord at Chambord, Loir-et-Cher, France, is one of the most recognizable chÃ¢teaux in the world because of its very distinctive French Renaissance architecture which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures. The building, which was never completed, was constructed by King Francis I of France.
Chambord is the largest chÃ¢teau in the Loire Valley; it was built to serve as a hunting lodge for Francis I, who maintained his royal residences at the chÃ¢teaux of Blois and Amboise. The original design of the ChÃ¢teau de Chambord is attributed, though with some doubt, to Domenico da Cortona; Leonardo da Vinci may also have been involved. …
One of the architectural highlights is the spectacular open double spiral staircase that is the centerpiece of the chÃ¢teau. The two spirals ascend the three floors without ever meeting, illuminated from above by a sort of light house at the highest point of the chÃ¢teau. There are suggestions that Leonardo da Vinci may have designed the staircase, but this has not been confirmed. Writer John Evelyn said of the staircase “it is devised with four (sic) entries or ascents, which cross one another, so that though four persons meet, they never come in sight, but by small loopholes, till they land. It consists of 274 steps (as I remember), and is an extraordinary work, but of far greater expense than use or beauty.”