Algae facades, rice paddies and fish ponds: Proposed design is out there; but no word yet on elevators

Rendering by Studio CTC/Designboom

Rendering by Studio CTC/Designboom

Mexico City-based architecture firm Studio Cachoua Torres Camilletti has proposed a skyscraper design that’s truly out there, The Atlantic’s CityLab reports. Resembling a pair of skeletons embroiled in a domestic dispute, the connected towers feature algae facades, rice paddies, fish ponds and flowers. The mixed-use building would be designed to harvest energy and filter water, among “100 other things.” It would be nuclear powered, which is somewhat ironic. No word about what sort of elevators it would have, but no doubt they would be machine-room-less and energy efficient.


Photo of the Week

I recently saw this photo posted on Twitter and thought that I would share.  Pretty clever!

“@ Come home from work to find my dad had put this escalator sticker on my bathroom door… “

Party at the Top of the World


Standing at a staggering 2,073 feet, China’s Shanghai Central Tower has reached its peak following nearly six years of construction making it the second tallest skyscraper in the world (China’s tallest). With a cheer, a wave and a peace sign, construction workers are pictured (above) putting the finishing touches on the last truss of the supertall building.

Under construction since November 2008, at a reported cost of $4.2billion, the 121-storey Shanghai Tower will include offices, shops, public spaces and a 320-room Four Season Hotel (that will be the highest in the world) when it opens next year. At its topping out ceremony last year, principal architect Jun Xia said the Central Tower and its sisters, the Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Centre, ‘will serve as a stunning representation of our past, our present and China’s boundless future.’

For many more photos, a video and additional information about the tower, click here.






Elevators Figure Big in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Wes Anderson’s recent movie, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” takes you into the refined and half-forgotten world of interwar European luxury hotels. The famous concierge, Gustave H, and his young protégé, Zero Moustafa, navigate a complex world of wealthy widows, greedy heirs, violent soldiers, and lethal henchmen. Much of the action happens in and around a grand Hungarian hotel. A number of scenes show Gustave and Zero, together with a human car operator, escorting guests up and down the building in an elevator. The hotel features a large funicular that Zero rides to deliver the shocking news of Madame D’s death. During Gustave’s daring escape from prison, one of his fellow escapees squeezes into a dumbwaiter to escape. There is a tense scene where Agatha, Zero’s girlfriend, finds herself in the same elevator with a car operator and Dmitri, the villain who is trying to kill Gustave. Visit Elevator World’s online museum to find out more about these early 20th century building transportation machines at


Really Good Elevator Music Project

Although elevator music (or Muzak – the generic term for elevator music) is rare today, it has a long history.  And, there are many reasons behind these background noise melodies that we’re subjected to in elevators, waiting rooms and shopping malls. Studies show that Muzak can influence group behavior, boost worker productivity and make shoppers linger in stores longer. Who knew?  

OK, lets face it.  Elevator music is boring.  And it definitely doesn’t entice me to interact with others.  I would rather insert my ear buds (or headphones) and listen to my own music.  And, in major cities, that probably is not very safe!  So, a group in Philadelphia formed a project called Really Good Elevator Music.  The project is an experiment that explores the potential of sound to stimulate social interaction and community building in the strikingly diverse Philadelphia neighborhood of Chinatown North/Callowhill. To test the experiment out, six artists with a connection to this community were invited to create tracks for a Really Good Elevator Music playlist – which were played on loop in elevators of The Wolf Building and other public/private spaces in the neighborhood. Really Good Elevator Music hoped to activate these spaces by filling them with a very different kind of Muzak, the kind that challenges participants to rethink their relationship with these spaces, the neighborhood, and each other. 

Video on the project:

Listen to the music:

Results from the experiment have not yet been released but you can visit the website for more information and to check back.  Would this make you more social and community-minded?



A Most “Fundamental” Elevator on Display in Venice

Chilean miner elevator

Acclaimed architect Rem Koolhaas gives elevators and escalators their due as part of his Venice, Italy exhibition, Fundamentals: the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, open to the public through November 23. It features such architectural elements as door handles and exposed machinery in a hanging, domed ceiling. Along with elevators and escalators, these are elements Koolhaas believes should become an integral part of architectural thinking. And some of them play a literally vital role, such as the missile-shaped elevator shown here. One of three designed by the Chilean Army and the U.S. space agency NASA, the capsules were used to rescue 33 trapped miners during the 2010 Copiapo, Chile, mining accident.


National Talk In An Elevator Day

Today, Friday, July 25, 2014 is National Talk in an Elevator Day!  So what exactly does this important day really mean?According to “there’s something unnerving about standing silently in a crowded elevator (or a lift)… It’s a brave person who breaks the uncomfortable silence – so Talk in an Elevator Day is dedicated to plucking up our courage and making polite small take whilst riding the lift!”.  So, if you happen to be in elevator today, strike up a conversation with your fellow riders.  After all, it is Friday.

If you need a little help in starting small talk, read this article titled “Three Tips for Engaging Elevator Conversations” or check out the video below:

And, dont do this:


Supertalls Promise to Redefine Midtown NYC Skyline

From left to right, 432 Park, 111 W. 57th, 53 W. 53rd, One57, 225 W. 57th, and 220 CPS. Image by illustrator Armand Boudreaux, New York YIMBY.

From left to right, 432 Park, 111 W. 57th, 53 W. 53rd, One57, 225 W. 57th, and 220 CPS. Image by illustrator Armand Boudreaux, New York YIMBY.

The excellent newsletter New York YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) newsletter recently provided renderings showing how an array of supertall skyscrapers under construction promises to redefine the Midtown New York City (NYC) skyline, hearkening to 1920s Manhattan, which had a varied skyline full of character. The mostly residential, luxury buildings will, YIMBY says, “showcase New York’s continued dominance as the pre-eminent global city.” They stand approximately 800 ft. above street level.


History of the World’s Tallest Skyscrapers

Skyscraper-History-ChartHigh Rise Facilities magazine recently took a look back at over 100 years of skyscraper history and the towers that have so far been entitled to proclaim “World’s Tallest Building”. Two pioneering inventions from the second half of the 19th century, steel-frame construction and the elevator, paved the way for the construction of the world’s first skyscraper. The combination of the two was first used in 1908 in the 187-meter-tall Singer Building in New York.



This was just the beginning of a world ever reaching to build higher and higher.  It was just recently announced that China will be building the world’s tallest buildings that will also clean the air.  The pink Phoenix skyscrapers (the color was chosen to reflect China’s sunsets) were designed by the British architect firm Chetwoods, according to CNN. The largest tower will stand 172 meters, beating Dubai’s Burj Khalifa for the name of the world’s tallest building.  


Click here for the full story and photos of the history of the world tallest buildings.



Photos of the Week

In case you were not aware, there is an actual competition called the World Interior of the Year Awards.  The submissions come from unique and stunning interiors ranging from an underground cavern to luxurious hotels, restaurants and shopping malls.  The judges have narrowed down the finalists of which you can find here.  Two of the finalists caught my eye because they involved vertical transportation.  You can find them both below.


Although hundreds of people pass through the room everyday, the famous Escalator Hall in the Harrods department store in London still has an usual charm – dominated as it by a huge yellow chandelier that is meant to represent the sun.


The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in Adelaide is packed with glass and steel, and beautiful elevators.

The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in Adelaide is packed with glass and steel, and beautiful elevators.