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Will New Lift Technology Bring Super-Skyscrapers?

Lifts and tall buildings tend to go hand-in-hand. Although you might need dumb waiter lifts in a small commercial building (for transporting food between rooms, for example), or a disability lift in place of a single flight of stairs, many lifts are put in place precisely because the building in question is just too tall to climb up manually.

Lifts in Tall Buildings

However, sometimes the science of lifts hasn’t always run smoothly alongside the planning of extremely high buildings. As architecture and technology have evolved, technology has sometimes proved to be less impressive than the architecture it is housed within. Take The Shard (see left). This colossal tower – the tallest building in London – has a transfer floor part way up the climb to the summit. Simply put, the restrictions of modern elevators couldn’t make the ascent in a single journey, necessitating the need to change lifts en-route.

The UltraRope Cable

Whilst there’s nothing wrong with this, the fact remains that the shard is ‘only’ a little over 300 metres tall, and thus the amount of changes needed for a really big skyscraper design could become tiresome. However, according to a recent article in The Guardian, the solution to this problem could be at hand, as a brand new kind of lift cable developed in Finland might assuage all these concerns.

This revolutionary lift cable design relies upon carbon-fibre as opposed to woven steel, and, whilst it has many special properties, the most noteworthy development it may bring is the ability to traverse up to 1km in a single lift. This enhanced capability is brought about by the extreme reduction in weight; the new UltraRope lift cable is a full 90% lighter than an equivalent lift cable.

Mile High Buildings?

Many years ago in 1956, the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright laid down plans for a mile-high skyscraper, yet despite his faith in advancing technology the project has never been realised. Indeed, the current record breaker for the world’s tallest building is only around half the size of this proposed structure (see right). However, with the advent of this new lift cable, and the forthcoming plans for a new 1km tower in Saudi Arabia, it appears that this age-old dream could now be realised, and, for once, technology and architectural progress will unfold in tandem.

Here at Axess2, we’re always fascinated to see lift designs refined to ever more impressive heights, and we can’t wait to see what sort of buildings this innovation might lead on to. If you’re looking for platform lifts in a more normal environment though, then we welcome you to get in touch, as we’ve been at the forefront of residential and commercial lift design for many years. To find out more, please contact us now by calling 01200 405 005 or send an email to info@axess2.co.uk.

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