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Sideways Elevators Broaden the Design for Future Skyscrapers

Mar 23, 2017

It only took 46 years. Gene Wilder's character, Willy Wonka took the grand prize winner for a ride in the Great Glass Wonkavator – an elevator that moved more than just up and down. That was 1971 fiction. Today, ThyssenKrupp, a German elevator company, is working on an elevator without cables. Their new design will ultimately use magnetic levitation technology. This will allow the elevator to travel vertically and horizontally. In taller buildings this will allow several elevator cars per shaft. Wait times will be cut drastically by the possibilities. ThyssenKrupp is past the research and development stage, already testing the new technology in their MULTI elevator design. The new vertical city structures of Dubai (the world’s tallest and largest buildings) will incorporate such technology.

Watch the new MULTI elevator being developed by ThyssenKrupp:

For fun, watch this clip featuring the “Great Glass Elevator from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

This new elevator design will impact construction. Architectural design of buildings will no longer be limited to straight vertical structures. As the first video shows the possibilities for building design will broaden. Buildings by design will now go even taller, taking on different shapes than historical vertical or cylindrical designs have required. For contactors this means larger projects with more capacity for all sorts of components. There will be more mega skyscrapers like those being constructed in Dubai, dubbed as “stand-alone cities”. These super tall structures will feature commercial, retail, residential, and recreational centers in one building stretching a mile into the sky and hosting 25,000 inhabitants. This evolving elevator technology is definitely changing skyscraper construction as we have known it.

Additional Reading: 

The world’s longest skyscraper is planned for New York, called Big Bend, is u-shaped and could not be engineered without the new elevator technology


NECA Technology – the Project for Applied and Disruptive Technology, explores the world of technology and keeps members informed of what's happening today, and of what will be launched in the not too distant future. Dr. Joey Shorter has an extensive background in education and experience in translating the work of academics into understandable, practical ideas.