Ongoing global urbanization is estimated to require the construction of an additional 85% of existing floor space by 2025, with mid and high-rise buildings proving to be the best response for environment and cost challenges. ThyssenKrupp’s elevator technology enables the release of significant areas for additional rent revenues.
ThyssenKrupp’s landmark new test tower will stand at 244 metres and is set to become one of the tallest structures in Germany, higher than the viewing platform of the iconic Berlin TV tower. The new structure will be used to test and certify elevators for mid and high-rise buildings before and while the buildings are being constructed, thus reducing installation times. In addition to being used for further research and development activities, the tower, designed by the renowned architect Helmut Jahn, will be a flagship structure in southern Germany, serving as a tourist attraction where visitors can view an entire panorama of the region from the tower’s top platform, the tallest observation spot in Germany.
The test tower is more than just a functional building; its architecture represents ThyssenKrupp’s innovative engineering vision. Merging cutting-edge technology and green engineering with Rottweil’s historic churches and towers, the tower embodies the future of building design.
Representing an investment of more than 40 million euros, the new test tower combined with ThyssenKrupp’s Neuhausen elevator manufacturing site and Pliezhausen R&D development centre will generate a cluster of innovation in elevator technology, adding to the existing 1,500 ThyssenKrupp Elevator employees in the region. An estimated ten thousand students are engaged in engineering studies at universities in the area, including Stuttgart and Konstanz in Germany and St. Gallen, Zurich, and Winterthur in Switzerland, thus offering an excellent recruitment base for ThyssenKrupp.
Elevator technology is evolving significantly to cope with today’s requirements for increased energy efficiency, faster travel times between floors, less crowded lobbies, and superior security in buildings. The tower will enable the testing of new solutions to meet these demands, such as shafts carrying more than one elevator cabin, and elevators capable of reaching speeds up to 18 metres per second, twice as fast as Usain Bolt’s 100-metre world record. These speed and energy improvements translate to travel times of a mere 90 seconds to reach the top of a 1.5 km-high building, which is taller than any existing building but already foreseen as a reality in the future.
Urbanization is an unstoppable trend, and the scale of movement of people to cities has redefined construction and infrastructure requirements to keep pace with growing urban populations. An estimated additional 85% of the existing urban and commercial floor space will need to be developed by 2025, according to a 2012 McKinsey Global Institute report, which foresees a requirement of nearly 58 trillion euros in new construction to meet this requirement. Limitations on space in urban areas means that mid to high-rise buildings are the most viable construction options, translating into an immense demand for elevators. By 2016, the global demand for elevator equipment (including elevators, escalators, and moving walkways) and services is projected to rise over 5% annually to 52 billion euros.
With regard to meeting this demand, Andreas Schierenbeck, ThyssenKrupp Elevator CEO, says “With the new test tower, we are poised to succeed in the promising elevator market for mid and high-rise buildings. Our new elevator technology enables reduction of the elevator-escalator footprint in a building, releasing significant areas for additional rent revenues.” Schierenbeck added, “Besides developing the most advanced technologies in the world, we are also enlarging our maintenance services footprint to get closer to our customers wherever they are across the globe.”
Taking into account current construction trends of high-rise buildings, the list of the world’s tallest buildings will change rapidly in the coming years, with the majority of new constructions in emerging markets. Building heights of 300 to 800 metres will change the skylines of metropolises in the future and the demands on people and technology will grow at the same rate. Currently, over 180 buildings under construction will rise above 250 meters, of which about 50 buildings will be completed every year. In the mid-rise market, there are currently about 800 buildings under construction which will rise to over 150 meters, and approximately 270 of these buildings will be completed this year.
With regard to the next steps after the tower’s architecture is presented, Ralf Broß, Mayor of the City of Rottweil, said, "Following the public and government’s early involvement in this project, our goal is to start construction work in the fall. Formal plans for the tower will be launched in the summer, and if there are no drastic schedule changes, the council could issue a building permit soon after the summer holidays.” He added, “The test tower will open a new chapter in the history of Rottweil’s architecture. The interplay between the medieval city center and the new test tower is a unique selling point with which our city silhouette will stand out from all other comparable cities, and will provide a significant boost in tourism and the local economy. ThyssenKrupp has offered Rottweil a great opportunity and I am very grateful for the company’s involvement here. My staff and I offer our full support to ThyssenKrupp in the coming months,” the Mayor stated.