Five lifts worth discovering more about, that say “oh yeah!” or “not bad!”
The first lift on our list is one of the oldest type of lift, used quite commonly in residential buildings. Kitchen lifts: small goods lifts which are less about saving the time and effort of kitchen staff, and more about making sure food is delivered to the table as hot as possible. They are still popular in restaurants, especially those in city centers, where the ever more dense developments and high prices per meter mean that placing the kitchen in a basement is often the only reasonable solution.
Car lifts at AutoTürme in Wolfsburg
In Autostadt – the town that is host to Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, where new owners of newly bought VW cars can choose to collect them – there are two glass round structures known as AutoTürme, as tall as 16-story skyscrapers. They are operated by robotic elevators which, during a small acceptance ceremony, “pick up” the appropriate vehicle from its sky perch and automatically transport the car directly to the delighted new owner, with an ideal 0 km mileage on the meter.
The Rising Tide bar lifts on Royal Caribbean cruise liners
Freight elevators are often invisible heroes carrying precious paintings in art galleries, carts full of dinners in hospitals or ore in mines. They go merrily up and down, carrying many important things that our civilization could not do without.
In other words, nothing like Royal Carribean’s Rising Tide bars. Even back in the days when drinking alcohol was something you did in groups, up to thirty-five customers can squeeze into an open-air elevator and can be served alcohol from the lifts’ built-in bars. It takes eight minutes to move through two floors in an otherwise indistinguishable “luxury mall” setting, so you’ll have time for a quick drink or two while you travel between floors.
Lifts for the disabled
Not very prestigious, because they are neither the fastest, nor the largest, nor even the highest lifts. Although certainly the cheapest, platform lifts have become a symbol of systemic changes in Poland, where, after years of ignoring people with disabilities, we have finally begun to reduce the most basic architectural barriers to access. This means removing everything that can be removed from the elevator concept to leave just the very basic essence of lifting people higher and lowering them down in a safe and comfortable way.
Lifts in the lowest and tallest buildings
As a boy raised in a block of flats – which was small enough that instead of gangs of metal heads and punks we had just one metalhead and one punk – elevators were a constant part of my life. I remember the graffiti on the walls and the breathlessness when the lift would suddenly stop at its destination. I once even managed to stay in an elevator for a good half an hour, just so I had something to talk about at school.
In earlier times, lack of elevators was a strong limitation on the maximum heights of buildings that could be constructed. Anything above a fifth or sixth floor would be virtually impossible to rent even to the poorest of the poor, because people’s health was not so good, and the stairs were usually built rather primitively, without any particular attention paid to ergonomics or health and safety. If you were lucky you lived on the lower floors where there was no need to climb, and lower ranked tenants and servants lived on the floors higher up.
This situation however reversed quite quickly with the advent of the age of the elevator. Initially, elevators were not yet automated in any real sense, so an experienced elevator operator was needed who could stop the cabin as close to the floor where you wanted to get off. Technology evolved over time, until today, when elevators are usually air-conditioned, clean and often glazed. Floors are no longer a limitation – elevators are installed in all calibers of properties – from one-story buildings with stairs, through Burj Khalifa in Dubai with its 57-million elevators, to the world’s tallest elevator in the Taipei 101 building, half a kilometer high with a maximum speed of almost 40 kms per hour.