The architect’s long living dream has always been to beat gravity. Numerous construction techniques and technologies have been devised throughout history to deem this possible. Architects were always keen on trying out all the latest in the field in order to achieve their ultimate visions, and though they have not entirely beaten gravity, they have come close enough. Soaring skyscrapers, with unprecedented heights, are shaping the skylines of world cities. With the current tallest building, Burj Khalifa, reaching a total height of 830m, and a planned tower for Jeddah that is expected to hit the 1km benchmark by 2020, we can confidently say “we’ve gone far”. However, to build such heights you need to find a convenient method to get to their top, and the most practical one we have come upon, till now, is using elevators.
The idea of the “elevator” may date back to ancient Rome and Vitruvius, but elevators, as we know them, were invented by American industrialist Elisha Otis in 1852. Ever since then, elevators have been a subject of development and innovation that go in parallel with the continuously rising heights of buildings. The latest elevators aim at being faster, to take on the massive heights in the shortest time possible, while keeping their passengers safe and comfortable. The world’s current fastest elevator, developed and modified by Hitachi, is in the CTF Finance Centre in Guangzhou, China. It can get to the tower’s 95th floor in 58 seconds.
Now, imagine the electricity is cut off; there are no generators, or there are no elevators at all. How would you get up there? How could you reach the 95th floor? When we face such problems with low-rise buildings, we just take the stairs, but can you imagine taking the stairs to the 95th floor? Assuming you can survive the trip up there, how long would it take you? This infographic by Nationwide Lifts will let you know.
Find out how long it would take you to get to the top floors of the world’s tallest skyscrapers if you take the stairs and be grateful to elevators, Mr. Otis, and fellow mechanical and electrical engineers.