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Youtube star’s viral ‘Toblerone stairs’ got architects and engineers talking

Deciphering the ‘stairway to heaven’ at Lloyd Cafe Cadena’s house

For avid followers of Filipino content creators, Lloyd Cafe Cadena is a name that’s recognizable. His is what one would call a household name, except he’s not on TV or film, but instead, on Youtube.

With three million subscribers, Cadena often goes viral because of his funny antics, candid vlogs of his daily life, as well as new milestones. This time, he’s earning millions of views not just for those reasons, but because of a specific area at his new house—the “Toblerone” stairs.

LESSON LEARNED What has been dubbed as the Toblerone stairs at Lloyd Cadena’s house is a reminder of what to consider when building a staircase

An extension project of an already completed house and located at the laundry area, the concrete stairs leading to the balcony, as Cadena has jokingly described it, is “a stairway to heaven.” In a recent video in his vlog channel, Cadena has also tried going up and down the said staircase. A clip even shows him doing it sideways, slowly and carefully.

The staircase, which has already been demolished, immediately garnered attention from netizens, including architects and civil engineers. 

Take it from the experts

In his own Youtube channel, Architect Llyan Austria has shared a reaction video on the stairs in question.

Ano ‘tong nakikita ko? Anong nangyari sa stairs? Bakit mukhang lagari? (What is this I’m seeing? What happened to the stairs? Why does it look like a saw?)” he asks. “Ngayong tumabi na si Lloyd dun, talagang makikita niyo na kung gaano katarik ‘yung hagdanan. Kalahati lang ng paa ‘yung nakaapak (Now that Lloyd stood next to the stairs, you can see how steep it is. Only half of his feet can fit).”

Austria further describes the staircase as “very unusual.”

Kyzha Penetrante, a civil engineer, seems to share the same shock at the sight of the stairs.

“As an engineer, kagulat-gulat na makakita ka ng ganung hagdan, especially kasi kapag nagsusukat ka pa lang ng dimensions, makikita mo na there’s something wrong sa ginagawa mo (As an engineer, it’s shocking to see this staircase because when obtaining measurements of dimensions, you can already see that there’s something wrong with what you’re doing),” she says in a reaction video of her own on Youtube.

Maru Rico, also a civil engineer, echoes this, too, in his reaction video. In it, he was watching a vlog before the viral staircase was even built.

“Here you can notice that even though there’s no staircase yet, there’s not enough space to build (it),” he says. “Usually the pitch angle of a staircase is from 30 to 35 degrees, so you can see that, aside from the staircase, there’s also not enough space for the landing.”

Pitch angle or stair pitch is the ratio between the rise and run (vertical and horizontal distances) of the staircase. The higher the pitch angle, the steeper the staircase. The landing, meanwhile, as the word implies, is the area of a floor near the top or bottom step of a stair.

“The disadvantage when the staircase is steep is that it’s no longer safe. It’s a hazard,” Rico explains. “Such a steep staircase resembles a ladder already. In this case, it won’t function well in the area.”

Imparting solutions

If there’s one more thing that both civil engineers have agreed on, it’s best to avoid the blame game. The deed is done, after all, and what’s more important is how to fix the problem.

Rico, in his video, has offered his solutions.

“It’s possible to create one or more turns in the staircase. The advantage of that is you can play around with the slope of the staircase. For each turn, however, you also have to install a landing. Since the laundry area’s space is limited in Lloyd’s house, it is not a viable option to install intermediate landings,” he says. “What’s also possible is to install a spiral or winding staircase, which can either be ready-made or made from scratch by the contractor.”

Since the Toblerone stairs went viral, Cadena has announced in a recent vlog that a new architect, Dax Augustus Tapay, is now helping him fix the problem. Some of Tapay’s initial suggestions include relocating the laundry area door to create more space for a staircase with one turn, or maintaining the door’s location but removing the entire slab of concrete over the laundry area for a less steep staircase.  

Cadena hopes that his documented experience of overcoming the challenges of a first-time homeowner can be helpful to others, too.

“This is an opportunity for me to learn as a first-time homeowner,” he says. “Ako nirerespeto ko talaga lahat ng mga professionals, so nandito ako ngayon para ma-inform din natin ang lahat kung paano ba talaga ‘yung (I respect all professionals, so that’s why I’m here to inform others what truly is the) process of home design and construction.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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