The Great Elevator Race

An event to promote the debut of a new Olympic sport featured a Polish man racing an elevator in a seven-story race.

Marcin Dzienski, a speed climbing specialist, scaled a Warsaw hotel as a neon-lit elevator rose next to him. The 26-year-old climbed a 23-m (75-ft) plexiglass wall and hit the top after 12.12 seconds, with the elevator close behind him.

Speed climbing is one of three climbing disciplines that will be included in the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Dzienski was the world champion in a 2016 event.

Check out the exciting video above.



Taking the Stairs

Firefighters in their gear run toward the tower in the 2018 Tower Run; photo by Ewa Krzeszowiak.

If you’re a runner or first responder, what better place is there to test your mettle than Western Europe’s tallest test tower? On September 15, some 1,000 participants will be in Rottweil, Germany, to face the challenging 1,390 steps inside thyssenkrupp’s elevator testing facility for the official Tower Run German Championship. While racing up a 232-m-tall structure might seem a little daunting, it has proved to be an attractive challenge: even though organizers expanded the number of runners, all slots were booked in only a few hours and 300 more people are participating than did last year. It’s not hard to see why. The tower sits in Rottweil, a picturesque, quintessentially European burg that’s the oldest town in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Runners who make it to the top will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Black Forest and the Swiss Alps.

International participants, both amateurs and professionals and representing a broad range of ages, will flock to Rottweil from 15 nations, including Austria, Mexico, Italy, France, England, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the U.S. This year, police officers will participate in their own classification.

It has to be daunting to know you have nearly 1,400 steps to climb; photo by Ewa Krzeszowiak.

“The Tower Run has quickly established itself as an attraction and crowd-puller — far beyond the region,” said thyssenkrupp CEO Peter Walker. “As a sporting event it is not only taken seriously but also enjoys an excellent reputation. Here, sports enthusiasts impressively demonstrate that urban mobility does not always have to be functional.”

About 50 runners, including technicians from Spain and Italy, will represent thysennkrupp. “For us, this challenge means conquering the highest heights,” said Francisco Blázquez Castaño, a thyssenkrupp maintenance technician from Madrid. “The test tower in Rottweil is an icon that people all over the world know and admire. We feel like winners just by participating. Our colleagues are very supportive, and that encourages us to try harder and give our best at the Tower Run.”

The thyssenkrupp test tower looks down over Rottweil and the Black Forest; photo by Alicia Wüstner.

thyssenkrupp looks at the Rottweil test tower as a symbol of its engineering skills. It’s here that the company is testing its MULTI units, the world’s only ropeless, vertically as well as horizontally moving elevator. The tower is also used to test and certify high-speed elevators and the latest generation of thyssenkrupp’s TWIN elevators, in which two independent cabins operate within a single shaft. The tower, which houses Germany’s highest viewing platform, is a tourist magnet, drawing nearly 400,000 visitors as of August 2019.

The view from the top is its own reward; photo by Jasmin Fischer.

Elevator-Pitch Competition

The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) announced the winners of the Elevate Your Pitch competition.

The elevator-pitch competition, judged by members of Schindler Elevator Corporation, was based on the premise of giving a quick description of a business and/or idea in the time it would take to ride up an elevator (about 60 s), AIAS said in a press release.

The competition, which ran from February-June 2019, gave students the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win one of three cash prizes. The panel of judges chose the top three entries to compete in the finals at the AIAS Grassroots Leadership Conference on July 18-21, 2019.

The winners of the competition were:

First Place | $2,500

The Supply Machine, submitted by Joey Sandoval and Ethan Herrold of the University of Colorado Boulder, is a conveniently located pop-up style vending machine for essential, must-have design materials.

Second Place | $1,000

The Patch Wand, submitted by Joshua Greene of California Baptist University, is a handheld scanner designed to repair objects and reduce waste by enabling clients to 3D print “patches.”

Third Place | $500

Sum of its Parts, submitted by Randa Malkawi and Luke Rumage of the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center of Virginia Tech, is a series of unique outdoor furniture that invites everyone to interact with it and create their own space.

For more information on the competition, visit aias.org/pitch.