Escherian StairWell Illusion

This Escherian Stairwell at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York has an endless staircase that has amazed students and baffled those who’ve tried to figure it out. These Penrose stairs, designed by a Filipino architect Rafael Nelson Aboganda, is making everybody to scratch their brains out.

The Penrose stairs or Penrose steps, also dubbed the impossible staircase, is an impossible object created by Lionel Penrose and his son Roger Penrose. A variation on the Penrose triangle, it is a two-dimensional depiction of a staircase in which the stairs make four 90-degree turns as they ascend or descend yet form a continuous loop, so that a person could climb them forever and never get any higher. This is clearly impossible in three dimensions.

The “continuous staircase” was first presented in an article that the Penroses wrote in 1959, based on the so-called “triangle of Penrose” published by Roger Penrose in the British Journal of Psychology in 1958. M.C. Escher then discovered the Penrose stairs in the following year and made his now famous lithograph Klimmen en dalen (Ascending and Descending) in March 1960. Penrose and Escher were informed of each other’s work that same year. Escher developed the theme further in his print Waterval (Waterfall), which appeared in 1961.

In their original article the Penroses noted that “each part of the structure is acceptable as representing a flight of steps but the connexions are such that the picture, as a whole, is inconsistent: the steps continually descend in a clockwise direction.”

Check it out:

Continue reading “Escherian StairWell Illusion”