Top Job 2024

Compass Ironworks was presented a silver award from the 2024 NOMMA Top Job Competition for a complete residential stair entitled “Invisible Rigidity.” The Top Job 2024 competition is held annually. It is hosted by National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association (NOMMA). It is a competition where metal fabricators from across the country enter their best, most challenging projects to compete for Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. They present a special award called the Mitch Heitler Award as well. This award selects the best from all the gold award winners. Judging is done by blind review amongst peers as NOMMA members themselves are metal fabricating experts. They evaluate the complexities and challenges of individual projects and then classify their judgements of each category’s entries.

Not only are the competition entries an array of challenging projects, but also an inspiring element involved as the Top Job Competition represents the latest in cutting edge designs from fabricators, architects and designers from all over the country. Across a wide spectrum of projects, such as driveway gates, iron railings, property fences and iron restoration projects. So for metal fabricators, it is an inspirational time of viewing the beautiful craftsmanship of others.

See our winning entry below:

Our project competed with other residential stair projects across the country. One was from Florida, where a custom double helical staircase was created. Another, was from the Mid-Atlantic region, where a set of double radial stairs were created with curved iron railing. Its pickets were side mounted unto the stair stringer! Yet another project we competed with was entitled “Cloud Top Staircase”. You can only imagine what that was like! It was a combination of curved glass, open risers with white oak treads and blackened steel to portray a combination of traditional materials, but in a contemporary design! Last project I’d like to note was a faceted cantilever stair where the treads were cantilevered out from a concealed structure n the wall. It had glass railing panels and a contemporary railing profile. This project was a jewel of modern staircases.

Our Invisible Rigidity Staircase started as a conversation back in 2021. We dialoged with the builder that was creating a cutting-edge modern design home for a client on the New Jersey Shore. After various interactions, the designers at Compass Ironworks visited the construction site.

At this point, the client expressed his vision of having the three flight staircase as “floating as possible”. Since we were able to start during the beginning stages of the build, we were able to request a steel structure be put in for an anchor point. We were able to incorporate innovation and ingenuity early on for the best possible outcome.

The louver wall was designed by the architect but as the designers from Compass Ironworks became involved, they directed the design initiative to be structural enough to provide rigidity and integrity to the project.

By far the most significant challenge was the cantilevered treads from the louver wall. There were minimal attach points to disperse the weight of a person using the steps. We were required to engineer the load to be transferred from the treads to the wall without any deflection whatsoever! We were successful!

The entire stair structure timeline from initial site visit to completion was over a 10 month period. Now, the builder, client and Compass Ironworks have not only accomplished a phenomenal stair, but also are honored with a silver award on a national level for this outstanding stair project. 

We look forward to Top Job 2025!

Do you need inspiration to kick start a project of your own?! We are happy to help! Contact us! Need even more inspiration? Check out our other work on Pinterest or our galleries!

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