Elevators are a wonderful innovation of convenience and productivity. Many of us enjoy the effortless comfort of an elevator to climb and descend from a number of floors with the push of a button. It is a piece of equipment that’s quite prevalent in modern society and, surprisingly, been around since 236 BC. While the very first elevators were powered by hand or animals, today they’re typically powered by electric motors and feature automatic doors with simple controls. The function of elevators haven’t changed much since its inception; however, designers all around the world have certainly experimented with the aesthetics, structure and capabilities, creating elevators that often warrant a second glance.
The AquaDom in Berlin-Mitte, Germany is one such elevator. Designed by architect Sergei Tchoban, the AquaDom is the world’s largest cylindrical aquarium and holds more than 1,500 tropical fish and over 50 different species. Every hour, about 260,000 gallons of water circulate through the aquarium. Inside this massive aquarium is a two-story glass elevator that has the capacity to hold 48 people. The aquarium elevator cost nearly $17 million to build and is a true feat of architectural engineering.
Closer to home, the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas features another unusual elevator—one that travels on an incline. Known for its iconic pyramid construction, the structure of the Luxor hotel requires elevators to move at an angle of 39 degrees. The floor of the elevator stays level, so most people do not experience a strong sensation of moving sideways. The inclined nature of this elevator results in a 14-foot horizontal shift from the top to bottom of the hotel. This shift required engineers to pay special attention to reinforcing the elevator cores using superplasticized concrete.
One last elevator to note is the Bailong elevator in Zhangjiajie, China. The Bailong elevator is built into the side of a cliff and rises more than 1000 feet high. It takes people to the top of a huge cliff and took three years to build, at a price of about $19 million. Capable of carrying 50 people, this unusual elevator takes just less than 2 minutes to reach the top. To build it, workers dug lift shafts and tunnels in the quartz sandstone column, and also installed earthquake detectors as a safety precaution. Located in China’s Hunan Province, the Bailong—or “Hundred Dragons”—elevator attracts 5 million visitors every year.
Different as they are, each one of these amazing elevators shares one simple commonality: they all have a sliding door. In this regard, the Aquadom, Luxor incline elevator, and Bailong are no different from the commercial elevators we use to get to the office or move freight from one level to the next. They’re all controlled by an electrical system that dictates the speed and interval at which the door opens and closes.
An expert manufacturer of advanced electronic controls, Etratech is familiar with the electrical systems that control our elevators. In the past, we’ve even worked with a leading elevator door manufacturer to create the first known wireless freight elevator door control system in the world. For more information about how Etratech can optimize the operation of your elevator, contact us today.