Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
The Results of the Research Presented at the 2018 CTBUH Conference

October 21, 2018

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DUBAI – The 2-year long research  “A Study on the Design Possibilities Enabled by Rope-Less, Non-Vertical Elevators Project” is about to be completed and the results were shared by the principal investigator of the research, Dario Trabucco, on Day 2 of CTBUH 2018 Conference, as part of the Skybridge Symposium.

The speeches in the session, “Managing the Skybridge: Operational Aspects”, focused on some of the implications of operating skybridges, from multiple perspectives.

Under the guidance of the moderator, Peter Pardoe, Regional Director of Buildings of Arcadis, Hashimah Hashim, Executive Director of KLCC Property Holdings Berhad, focused on the case of the Petronas Towers, whose sky-bridge was designed not just for its strong distinctive aesthetic feature, but also as a primary function for office occupants’ circulation. Moreover, its role in the emergency escaping strategy has been crucial in the design process of the complex. The presentation then moved on the maintenance and monitoring activities of the tuned mass dampers (TMD) installed inside the 50-meter-long sky-bridge, which were deactivated, as the results of the monitoring proved they were unnecessary for the stability of the building and bridge.


Hashimah Hashim, Executive Director, KLCC Property Holdings Berhad, testifies about the experience of designing, constructing and managing the skybridge at Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The conversation moved then on a different topic: “Cities in the Sky: Elevating Singapore’s Urban Spaces”, presented by Swinal Samant, Senior Lecturer, National University of Singapore. Urban space has become fundamental due to the unprecedented transformation of Singapore becoming a high-density urban environment. Among the possible solutions found, elevated spaces in the form of sky gardens, skybridges, and sky courts have been built and now tie together the different horizontal and vertical components of the city. In the presentation, the effectiveness of these elevated urban spaces was shown, showing their success as horizontal urban landscapes, through the analysis of two key developments: Marina Bay Sands and the Jurong Gateway. Some noteworthy issues with these spaces were brought to light and the presentation outlined some key strategies that may overcome those issues.


Swinal Samant, Senior Lecturer, National University of Singapore, highlights the achievements of Singapore in creating horizontal urban habitats at height.

At the end of the session, Dario Trabucco presented the final results of the 2-year long research program entitled “A Study on the Design Possibilities Enabled by Rope-Less, Non-Vertical Elevators Project”.
The basis of the research focused on a game-changer in the vertical transportation industry, which would allow elevators to move not only vertically but also horizontally. The application of such a technological innovation will dramatically change the way in which the tall buildings are designed, conceived, organized and lived.

While it may be easy to understand the potential opportunities allowed by these breakthroughs, it is not so easy to visualize the effects from an architectural point of view, and in the two-year research project, sponsored by thyssenkrupp elevators, a CTBUH research team studied the design possibilities enabled by non-vertical elevator systems and envisioned the architectural implications. Some of the research results included the identification of design considerations and unconventional organizational strategies and visions of tall buildings of the future, which can now be better layered and interconnected into the urban context in which they are inserted. The results are intended to act as a reference and a design inspiration to create a new generation of tall buildings. Hopefully, this new generation is better able to meet the dynamic mobility needs of contemporary and near-future society.


During the 2-year long research program, the CTBUH team worked side-by-side with international experts to identify which will be the design possibilities enabled by the application of a rope-less and non-vertical elevator system in a tall building design. Among the definition of those design considerations, the team also developed some case studies and visions of future buildings where the internal transportation system is based on such innovations. Some of these visions, which will be included in final output of this research, derive from the submission received for the CTBUH Master Thesis Challenge, a related initiative that involved students from architectural faculties in the world.

The final output of the research will be presented and released in Shenzen, China, during the CTBUH Tall+Urban Innovation Conference.


CTBUH Research Manager Dario Trabucco, discusses the results of the CTBUH Research Project “A Study on the Design Possibilities Enabled by Ropeless and Non-Vertical Elevators".