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What is the word for the building where the stairs are located stairwell or staircase or stairway? Is that in the image stairwell or staircase or stairway?

enter image description here

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up vote 19 down vote accepted

A stairwell is a shaft that contains, or has been built to contain, a staircase. The image shows a staircase and its bannister, but part of the stairwell is visible as well (the tiled wall).

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I up-voted your answer then added "and its bannister" and "as well." I hope you don't mind my minor edits to your already excellent answer. – Mark Hubbard Jan 14 at 19:33
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@Stevetech, it's generally a bannister in the US. – Karen Jan 14 at 21:17
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Note that not every staircase need be located inside a stairwell. A single flight of stairs such as may be found in a 2-story house, for example, is not. A stairwell is typically separated from the rest of the building (e.g. by doors on each landing). They are often not heated/air conditioned. They generally run from the bottom to top of a building or section of building, spanning more than 2 floors. (Taller skyscrapers may not have a single stairwell all the way up, depending on design.) – Darrel Hoffman Jan 14 at 21:22
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@Stevetech In my experience growing in the UK, banister was the more correct term. According to wikipedia, balustrade is a more general term to mean any kind of railing. When specifically applied to stairs, banister appears to be the more correct term. – Digital Trauma Jan 14 at 22:24
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Also staircases on the outside of buildings (eg fire stairs) don't have a stairwell – piers7 Jan 15 at 7:12

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