Designing a DNA helix-inspired waterslide staircase

Verona | Italy
This article is also available in:
The Terme di Giunone waterslide staircase project in Italy, led by Giovanni Predicatori, a freelance structural engineer, in collaboration with Contec Engineering, marked a significant challenge in the field of structural engineering. This project involved designing and executing a 20-meter high staircase, inspired by the double helix structure of DNA. The complexity of its architectural concept demanded a sophisticated engineering approach, where IDEA StatiCa's software played a pivotal role in ensuring structural integrity and design precision.

About the project

The waterslide staircase, situated at the Terme di Giunone resort near Verona, Italy, was not just an architectural feat but also a testament to advanced engineering. The project's cornerstone was the DNA helix-inspired staircase, integrating two intertwined ramps and eight external circular columns. This structure was part of a larger design, including supporting elements for the waterslides. The project demanded a harmonious balance between aesthetic appeal and functional stability.

The accuracy and versatility of IDEA StatiCa were indispensable in realizing the intricate design of the waterslide staircase.
Giovanni Predicatori
Giovanni Predicatori
Structural Engineer – Giovanni Predicatori - freelancer

Engineering challenges

Predicatori faced numerous challenges, primarily stemming from the staircase's unique double helix design. This intricate geometry required meticulous planning and precision in structural analysis. 

The core challenges included ensuring stability under varying loads, designing robust connections for the spiral elements, and implementing effective wind bracing strategies. Adherence to Eurocode standards, with specific attention to Italian Annexes, added layers of regulatory complexity.

Solutions and results

To address these challenges, Predicatori employed IDEA StatiCa in combination with Scia Engineer. This approach facilitated a seamless transition from the architectural model, developed in Allplan, to a detailed structural analysis. Using Scia Engineer, the team identified critical joints and performed in-depth analyses with IDEA StatiCa, ensuring each element met the required safety and stability standards.

The integration of these software tools allowed for accurate modeling of complex geometries, efficient analysis of structural connections, and swift adaptation to design changes. The final design, executed by steel constructor Gesia, leveraged the IDEA StatiCa Viewer for precise joint construction details. The completed staircase was not only structurally sound but also aesthetically aligned with the project's visionary concept.

Integrating IDEA StatiCa with Scia Engineer was crucial for efficient joint calculation and Eurocode compliance, a key to this project's success.
Giovanni Predicatori
Giovanni Predicatori
Structural Engineer – Giovanni Predicatori - freelancer

This case study underscores the critical role of IDEA StatiCa in the realm of complex structural engineering projects. The Terme di Giunone waterslide staircase exemplifies the software's capability to handle intricate designs and collaborate effectively with other BIM tools, reinforcing its status as an essential tool in modern structural engineering.

About Giovanni Predicatori

Giovanni Predicatori is based in Colognola ai Collia near Verona in Italy. He is a freelance structural engineer who mostly calculates steel structures.

He won the Small Scale Projects: Steel category in the IDEA StatiCa Excellence Awards 2023.

Try IDEA StatiCa for free

Start your trial today and enjoy 14 days of full access and services free of charge.


The Queens Wharf Skydeck

Roof structure of the AFAS Stadium

Family home in Massachusetts

Façade retention construction support