Transport specialist Weston Williamson is to become the first British practice to include a vertically and horizontally moving lift into one of its projects
The practice confirmed it was working in partnership with lift manufacturer Thyssenkrupp Elevator on the Willy Wonka-inspired MULTI lift which was showcased at an event about the future of the London Underground yesterday (8 June).
Chris Williamson, a partner at transport expert Weston Williamson, told the AJ that the lift could open up ‘a lot of design possibilities’ and that the practice was already looking to incorporate the technology into their current projects and a number of competition bids. The rope-free lift uses linear motor technology to travel at five metres per second and allows multiple cabins per shaft.
Thyssenkrupp Elevator confirmed the company was not, at present, working with any other UK architects on the system.
Speaking to the AJ after the event Williamson said the sideways lifts could particularly help on transport schemes ’in a historic city like London’ where dropping lift shafts down to subterranean platform levels was often hindered by existing and protected building stock.
He said: ‘If [a lift] can go to one side of the listed building and then travel underneath it to get to where it wants to go, it opens up a lot of design possibilities.’
Willamson suggested that horizontal elevators could improve connectivity in London’s Holborn station.
He said: ‘A lot of stations at the moment in London have to close during the peak hours because you can’t transfer from one line to other. For instance at from Holborn between the Piccadilly and the Central line. When it becomes too crowded they have to shut the station.
‘So this is going to really help because you can move sideways as well as move vertically. It gives you whole more possibilities, which is why we thought it was exciting when we saw it.’
However London Underground said there were no firm proposals to use the new lifts in any of its stations. A TfL spokesperson said: ‘Although there are currently no plans to introduce a lift of this type on our network, we are always interested in hearing about how new technology can better improve our services for our customers.’
Thyssenkrupp Elevator is constructing a 246-metre test tower for the lift in Rottweil, Germany, which will open in December.
test tower Rottweil 1 c ThyssenKrupp