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.

Test Tower of Light

A ceremonial throwing of the switch cast the 246-m thyssenkrupp test tower in Rottweil, Germany, within the glow of 44 spotlights at sunset on Valentine’s Day.

Love was literally in the air in Rottweil, Germany, on Valentine’s Day, when the first couple to be wed inside the thyssenkrupp Elevator test tower was invited back to turn on the 246-m-tall structure’s architectural lighting system. On February 14, at sunset local time — 5:44 p.m. — the couple, married last year at the 220-m point inside the test tower, threw the switch that instantly bathed the landmark structure in the warm glow of 44 spotlights, allowing architects Werner Sobek and Helmut Jahn to realize their vision of a “Tower of Light.”

The tower has become a popular attraction in Rottweil, the oldest city in Germany’s Baden-Wuerttemberg state. Residents and shop owners were invited to put lights in their windows in return so that a veritable “dialogue of lights,” a representation of the relationship between the town and the test tower, could commence.

“The nighttime lighting has been an integral part of my design concept from the very beginning,” said Sobek. “The lighting had to be just as tender and virtually ‘immaterial’ as the tower’s fabric shell itself: elegant, unobtrusive, light as a feather — and by no means colorful or garish.”

More than a quarter of a million visitors have been awed by the view from the tower’s observation deck, the highest in Germany, since construction was completed in 2017. thyssenkrupp uses the one-of-a-kind facility to test MULTI, the world’s first ropeless elevator for high-rise buildings, as well as conventional high-speed elevators.

The tower lights will be switched on every evening, except during various weeks each year when bird migrations are taking place.