WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
- Tomorrows skyscrapers will be 3D printed into a whole host of different, strange shapes, but in order to make them a reality we need a new type of cable free elevator and ThyssenKrupp look like they’re about to deliver
In the 160 or so years since the first skyscrapers were built, lots of amazing advances have helped us reach new heights and build them bigger and taller than ever before. Today, for example, in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia they’re planning on building a 167 story skyscraper, and even taller buildings are on the drawing boards.
However, that said people still don’t really live in skyscrapers the way futurists had envisioned, for one main reason – elevators can still only go only up and down. In the Harry Potter movies, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and others, for example, we’re shown magical cable free elevators that can travel not just vertically but horizontally and even diagonally. Now though, thanks to German elevator company ThyssenKrupp, who are trying to, finally, get rid of cable elevators, and replace them with levitating ones that use magnets and electric linear induction motors instead, that reality could be closer than we imagined, and they’ve just showed off their latest prototype called “MULTI.”
Finally architects can finally realise their wildest dreams of making odd shaped, 3D printed skyscrapers, like the 80 story one being planned for Dubai in 2020, and design buildings where people live in the clouds, only rarely having to go down to street level, instead being able to move horizontally and, or, diagonally around the building to the next tower over, or to the bridge between them, for a swim, a trip to the doctor or even the grocery store.
The research project, which is set to conclude in September 2018, aims to explore as many of the practical implications of cableless elevator travel as possible, but we already know that thinking of elevators the way ThyssenKrupp suggests would revolutionise the design, construction and use of tall buildings. Builders could create structures that are both far taller and far wider than current skyscrapers – and people could move though them much more easily than we do in cities today.
Sadly though there is still no revolution in sight for elevator music, so you’re still stuck with that at least.