A Study on the Design Possibilities Enabled by Ropeless and Non-Vertical Elevators

Dario Trabucco
Research Manager
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Venice

The vertical transport sector is about to change radically, thanks to the introduction of new technologies that allow elevators to move not only vertically, but also horizontally. This game-changer will completely upend how we conceive, organize and design tall buildings, as the ways in which we both live and move within those buildings will be significantly modified. However, although it is quite easy to understand the potentials and opportunities made possible by these breakthroughs, it is not so easy to visualize the effects from an architectural point of view.

For this reason, during a two-year research project, sponsored by thyssenkrupp elevators, a CTBUH research team studied the design possibilities enabled by non-vertical elevator systems and tried to envisage the architectural implications. Some of the research results consist of the identification of design considerations and unconventional organizational strategies. Also, visions of tall buildings of the future therefore become more complex, layered and interconnected, and - in some cases - even better integrated into the urban context into which they are inserted. This panorama of possibilities is aimed at designers, architects and developers who are deciding how to use these new technologies in their future projects. It is intended to be received as a reference and a design inspiration to create a new generation of tall buildings. Hopefully, this new generation is better able to meet the dynamic mobility needs of contemporary and near-future society.

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