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issue 45 - August/September 2018
CURVE magazine cover August/September 2018
Concept  Design  


A Radical Take on the Traditional Elevator

Lars Hesselgren, Head of Research at PLP Architecture, revealed the latest conceptual design for SkyPod, a new take on the elevator. Featuring an innovative propulsion system based on Maglev technology, the design was recently shown to delegates at the 22nd International Congress on Vertical Transportation Technologies.

Despite many advances in technology, the elevator has not changed in over 150 years: a single cab hoisted up and down in an otherwise empty shaft. This shaft is one of the most expensive, underused and inefficient pieces of real estate in the world. At street level and below ground, as soon as a taxi cab or underground train passes, the next follows on its tail. These are looped transportation systems multidirectional, adaptable and super efficient. Why should elevators not behave the same way? SkyPod is a research project that achieves the goal of a looped elevator system. With the advent of autonomous vehicles, a transport revolution is poised to radically transform the way we move within our cities.

SkyPod leverages these advances and extends them vertically to achieve a three dimensional urban mobility protocol that is on demand, ultra responsive and point to point. Imagine a fullyintegrated digital and physical infrastructure in which your journey begins at home, pauses at your favorite cafe and ends directly on your 55th floor office. Throughout this journey, privacy and experience are paramount: catch up on your book or immerse yourself in the panoramic views of the city around you. SkyPod relies on a very physical and venerable piece of infrastructure a track. The SkyPod track, however, can also tip, turn and twist to climb on the outer surface of buildings.

Unlike the rigid up and down movement of an elevator, the SkyPod works like a gyroscope. It rotates so that its floor is always horizontal, using the same dynamic digital stabilization systems as high speed trains

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