The space between flights of stairs that is kinda like a tunnel of sorts. Or a shaft. Does it have a name? It needs a name. Maybe this should be posted on a architecture page.

  • Lightwell if there is a roof window above,
    – Ian
    Commented Dec 1, 2018 at 17:05

2 Answers 2


I think you are referring to stairwell:

a long, vertical passage through a building around which a set of stairs is built.

enter image description here

(Cambridge Dictionary)

The idea of “shaft” has been commonly referred to as “well” referring to stairs from about mid-1800.

  • 2
    This is not quite correct. A stairwell is bounded by the exterior of the stairs, not the interior; it includes the space taken by the stairs themselves. If there's another word for the interior space, I haven't been able to find it.
    – Xerxes
    Commented Dec 1, 2018 at 15:35
  • @Xerxes - it is still a stairwell. If you fall down a stairwell, that’s the shaft you are falling in.
    – user 66974
    Commented Dec 1, 2018 at 16:03
  • 2
    Not all stairwells have an open space like this. Sometimes there are flights in alternating directions with a very narrow gap between them, and sometimes that gap is filled by a wall. Still, I would probably use the word "stairwell" when describing the middle part of this picture.
    – David K
    Commented Dec 1, 2018 at 17:43

The gap in the middle is called a "Well-hole".

a. An opening through a floor or series of floors, esp. one into which a staircase, chimney stack, etc., may be installed, or one which admits light
b. A central open space forming the vertical core around which the stairs of a winding or spiral staircase may be set.


  • 1
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    – Community Bot
    Commented Jan 12, 2023 at 16:07
  • 2
    I've added corroboration here. Richard: welcome to ELU. Please take a note of the help on good answers. It doesn't have to be OED: any reputable corroboration should be acceptable.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jan 12, 2023 at 16:10

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