A floor rail offers a visual and tactile reminder of a low-ceiling in the Centegra Health Bridge Fitness Center.

A freestanding staircase outfitted with a railing made primarily of glass adds to the light and open feel of the Centegra Health Bridge Fitness Center's interior circulation system. One more simple detail of the Huntley, Ill., facility completes the picture: the low rail on the floor underneath the stairs.

While most visitors would be unlikely to walk into the underside of a staircase, it should be obvious that a structure built without some sort of guard could pose a danger to certain pedestrians, especially a sight-impaired visitor using a cane. A typical solution in public buildings involves the placement of a large, bulky object such as a planter; however, used here, an arrangement of this sort would serve to add back some of the clutter the architects, Chicago-based PSA-Dewberry Inc., painstakingly removed. Instead, the floor rail offers a visual and tactile reminder of the low ceiling ahead, while keeping intact visitors' view of the building's central courtyard.