Baroque Spiral Staircase of the Melk Abbey, Lower Austria.

Baroque Spiral Staircase of the Melk Abbey, Lower Austria.

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The spiral staircase has been viewed as a metaphor for both personal growth and historical development. Rather than ascending along a linear plane, we find ourselves tracing circles along the staircase as we move, we hope, inevitably upward. In so doing, wisdom impels us to embrace both progress and preservation. It adjures us not to attempt to cast aside or stamp out swaths of our experience and heritage, but to reclaim and recreate our individual and collective past and to preserve our present for the assurance of a richer, more viable future.

The spiral staircases collected here come from all over the globe and are found in various stages of construction, preservation and ruin.