The sky is not always the limit when it comes to building vertically – rather, elevator technology is often the restricting factor when it comes to skyscraper height. With current technology, a single elevator can travel approximately 500m before the weight of the rope becomes unsupportable. This means that ascending a mile-high (1.6km) tower would require changing elevators up to 10 times. However, UltraRope, a recently unveiled technology by Finnish elevator manufacturer KONE, may change the heights of our cities. A new hoisting technology that will enable elevators to travel up to one kilometer, UltraRope doubles the distance that is currently possible.
In an article for The Guardian, “The new lift technology that will let cities soar far higher,” Rory Hyde looks at the current limitations of elevator technology, how its development over the years has shaped our cities and the impact that UltraRope could have skyscraper design. Read the whole piece, here.
The days of elevator small talk could be coming to an end with Hitachi planning to deliver the world’s fastest elevator by 2016. Capable of travelling at speeds of 72km/h (44m/h), the record-breaking lifts will be able to hoist passengers up 95 floors in less than 40 seconds. Khon Pedersen Fox’s 530-meter Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre will be the first to house the super-speed elevators, amongst 13 other high-speed elevators and 28 double-decker elevators. Currently, the world’s fastest elevator is by Toshiba and only capable of reaching speeds of 61km/h (38m/h) within Taipei 101. You can learn more about the super-speed elevators, here.
Standing tall as a “striking symbol of hope and prosperity,” the Intempo skyscraper in Benidorm, Spain is missing one essential component: a working elevator. Although the towers’ have been riddled with issues from the start, its “over-excited” developers decided to double the structure’s original height from 20 to 47 stories. Unfortunately, the expansion was realized without the appropriate recalculation of its elevator system, leaving little space for larger lifts and motor equipment that would naturally be required for a taller building. Since, the project’s architects, Roberto Perez Guerras have resigned and it is unclear as to how the developers will overcome the issue.
Finnish elevator manufacturer KONE has unveiled a new hoisting technology that will enable elevators to travel heights of one kilometer – twice the distance than currently possible. The new development implies that the Burj Khalifa, whose longest elevator travels a distance of 504 meters, will not remain the world’s tallest building for very long.
Join us for more after the break.
What do the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Kremlin, and the Burj Khalifa have in common?
Elevators from the Otis Elevator Company. The company, which is celebrating its 160th anniversary today, has an interesting history: it was founded in 1853, the year Elisha Otis invented the elevator safety brake. Before Otis’ invention, buildings rarely reached seven stories (elevators were considered just too dangerous to implement).
But it was Otis’ elevator that would allow for the creation, and proliferation of, the skyscraper – an explosion that would for ever alter the 20th and 21st century skylines.
Read more about the Otis Elevators influence on skyscraper design (and how Otis performed a death-defying feat to increase the invention’s popularity), after the break…
Elevators have been around for quite a long time; maybe not those that soar to hundreds of feet in a matter of seconds, but the primitive ancestors of this technology, often man-powered, were developed as early as the 3rd century BC. These early wheel and belt operated platforms provided the lift that would eventually evolve into the “ascending rooms” that allow supertall skyscrapers (above 300 meters) to dominate skylines in cities across the world. Elevators can be given credit for a lot of progress in architecture and urban planning. Their invention and development allowed for the building and inhabiting of the structures we see today.
Supertall skyscrapers are becoming more common as cities and architects race to the top of the skyline, inching their way further up into the atmosphere. These buildings are structural challenges as engineers must develop building technologies that can withstand the forces of high altitudes and tall structures. But what of the practical matter of moving through these buildings? What does it mean for vertical conveyance? How must elevators evolve to accommodate the practical use of these supertall structures?