Taipei 101 Elevators

By Deane Barker on September 7, 2004

Extreme Machines: World’s Fastest Elevator: I was watching a great History Channel series on skyscrapers which included a sidebar on the elevators at one of the world’s tallest buildings: Taipei 101.

The 1667-ft., 101-story building has 67 elevator units, including two that service the 89th-floor observation deck and qualify as the world’s fastest. These rocket skyward at a peak speed of 3314 ft. per minute (fpm) […]

I’ll save you the math — that’s 37 m.p.h (59 k.p.h) vertically. You had to see a video of these things — they flew up and down the shaft like they had rockets attached. You could almost see a smoke trail.

When Joe and I were in Chicago for the Basecamp thing, we visited the Sears Tower. Now, that’s a tall building with some fast elevators — it took maybe one minute to get to the top. But those elevators travel at a mere 18 m.p.h. (29 k.p.h.). How pedestrian. You may as well take the stairs.

The real challenge was the human factor. To hold down noise — for those in the building, as well as in the elevators — the observation-deck shuttles are shaped like twin-nosed bullets, reducing aerodynamic drag, what is known in the trade as windage. They’re equipped with sound-isolation shrouds, acoustic tiles and isolated floor platforms. Even the counterweights are aerodynamic.

The one really cool thing they don’t mention is that several of the elevators (not the high-speed ones that service the observation desk) are two stories high. I couldn’t quite figure it out from the show, but it appears that when one of the floors of the elevator stopped on one of the building floors, the other floor of the elevator opened on the building floor above or below it…maybe. I’m not sure.

(I’m betting that there’s a Gadgetopia reader out there that has visited this building, or who knows someone that works there, or who knows someone who knows someone, etc. I want to know how this works — tell a friend. Preferably a Taiwanese friend.)

Some more great information about the monster that is Taipei 101 here, here, and here. But, if you’re a complete dork like me, you won’t want to miss the Taipei 101 article in that Bible of vertical conveyances, Elevator World Magazine.

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Comments

  1. While I’ve never been to Taiwan, I have been to Las Vegas. The Stratosphere tower is the tallest building in the US west of the Mississippi, and claims to have the fastest elevators in the world (in excess of 2500 feet per minute, as claimed by the elevator attendant). These elevators are double-decker, and – as you suspected – you can board the elevator on one of two floors that are stacked on top of each other. When the elevator stops, the doors for the two separate compartments open on different floors.

    You use this elevator to visit the rollercoaster on the top of the building when they don’t close it because the wind is blowing too hard. Ugh.

  2. The Thing I remember about the History Channel show was the “Pressure control” to try to keep your ears from poping traveling up and down that fast.

  3. From one of the links in the original post, “….as anyone who’s flown a few times can tell you, it’s the change in altitude that plays havoc with the human ear. The middle ear is a bit like a balloon, and if you can’t adjust pressure by yawning or swallowing, the results are unpleasant at the least. The trade publication Elevator World reports the 1346-ft. express elevators to the observation deck at Chicago’s Sears Tower had to be slowed down after a visitor’s eardrum ruptured.”

  4. Hello! I live just a few kilometers due west of Taipei 101. What I can answer about the double-deck design at this stage is that, patrons travelling to even-numbered floors first take the escalator to the 2nd floor to board the upper-car. There’s probably “destination” buttons on the landing and the computer would tell you which car to wait for. You could imagine the havoc should you be allowed to take either car and get to the floor of your choice; what if both cars call for the same floor? ;-)

    By the way, the elevators are manufactured by GFC Corporation, the Taiwan division of Toshiba Elevators. Their double deck design allows for minor compesations to be made for differences between floors not evenly spaced.

    I’ll remember to update on this site when the tower opens in 2005!

  5. Deane wrote: “I’m betting that there’s a Gadgetopia reader out there that has visited this building, or who knows someone that works there, or who knows someone who knows someone, etc. I want to know how this works ? tell a friend. Preferably a Taiwanese friend.”

    Well, the second match of a Google Search for “Taipei 101 + elevator” brought me here! :-) hehe. I too have been very curious of how the double deck design will work.. some questions I have (and won’t find out until the building opens) are:

    1. How the traffic would be managed, say, if a stop was made and only someone from the lower (or one of the) decks needs to get off — do people in the upper deck just wait mysteriously? However, this will not be easy to answer as I’m assuming stringent security protocols will be in place of accessing these tenant elevators.

    Those elevators in the shopping mall (a preview of what would be in the tower building) are really fancy. Some open on both sides (has anyone seen an elevator that opens on both sides at the same floor?), and the car position indicator is a TFT LCD screen that displays Arial Font digits, current date/time, “Next floor” notice (English and Chinese), and cabin temperature. It’s a lot fancier than the blue/white monochrome LCD from Otis (featured in the original Matrix movie – with Neo and Trinity going up the elevator and stopping on the 41st floor).

    On the landing, you’ll immediately know which car will “answer” your call when you press the directional call button (although its not always correct!!). When the car arrives, the direction indicator flashes and a high, decending minor-3rd chime announces the arrival. The call button lights up when pressed–green for UP and red for DOWN; there’s also a wheelchair delay button…

  6. The Sears Tower also has Double Decker Elevators that are express that go to “Sky Lobbies” where you chanage and take locals to the floor within that block of floors.

  7. Hi i live in Singapore and the Republic plaza is served by a bank of 8 double deck elevators. the double deck elevators are standard in behavior so what i see in singapore is essentially the same as taipei 101. Usually Double deck elevators have a unique system in adressing users if only one deck need to be served instead of two at one go. for example, if the even deck have a pessenger that wants to alight at level 82, then at the odd deck which stops st level 81 the pessengers see the Digital display shows “Please wait as the other deck is being served” usually this is also read out by the elevator speaker system.

    Tentant elevators are a usually a must in mordern skyscrapers. The republic plaza have 8 standard elevators but only one tentant elevator which serve the whole tower, the standard elevators are deactivated during after office hours and the tentant elevator needs a card to be flashed onto the elevator control before the elevator will move to the floor specified in the chip embedded in the smart card. in this way security is assured for the building.

  8. Doubledeck lifts travel same way as a doubledeck bus, it simply has 2 decks, but it is just one lift.

    This is done to save space; a doubledeck lift can take twice as much in the same shaft as a singledeck lift. This keeps the surface needed for lifts accaptable.

    I work for Schindler elevators in the Nederlands, we dont have doubledeck lifts in holland, but Schindler has this type of lifts installed in several high buildings.

  9. Dear Gadgetopia Readers,

    Sorry that I haven’t been following up as promised. As you know, buildings such as these have high security clearences, and I haven’t been able to see the double deck elevators in the business tower. But I did went for a ride in the world’s fastest today – seven months after the grand opening – but the line was quick and short today. :-) I compiled a 2-minute MPEG video clip of the rides up and down the fastest elevator. Real-time, unedited. :-)

    The ride was smooth-sailing from 5F to 82F (25m to 382 m) – there was no ear-popping for the duration of the ride until we almost reached the top. This was nice compared to the 11-year old Shin Kong Skyscraper, with skydeck elevators that runs 540 m/min (2 floors per sec) max from B1 to 46, without pressure control.

    As advertised, it took 37 seconds to arrive at the observation deck, of which only 8 were spent at maximum speed of 1010 m/min. (too bad..). The ride down is limited to 600 m/min.

    The movie file lasts two minutes, and for those who are genuinely interested in a virtual tour, the 21.3 MB download is worth it.

    You can enjoy the ride here.

    Sincerely,

    Peter Shen

  10. The following information about Double Decker lift information is being translated from Mandarin Chinese on the Manufacturer’s website. :-)

    The Double deck lifts in Taipei 101 have three modes of operation, as described below:

    Fulltime Dual-Deck Operation is where the bottom car (1F) serves odd-numbered floors only, and the top car (2F) serve the even-numbered floors only in the direction of travel.

    Semi-Dualdeck Operation is suitable for off-peak hours, and more closely resembles single-cab operation. For the bottom floors (1F/2F), usage is similar to double decker operations, in that the bottom car only registers odd floors, and the top car even floors. However, hall calls from floors above the base floors could be answered by either car — a passenger going down from an even floor may be picked up by the bottom car, to arrive at 1F lobby directly).

    Single Deck Operation may be used during evening hours where less passengers need to be served. In this mode the top car is turned off, and passengers can travel to any floor in the bottom car from the first floor (there’s extra space for the top car to park, when the bottom car serves the top floor of that elevator shaft.)

    Semi-Dualdeck Operation is suitable for off-peak hours, and more closely resembles single-cab operation. For the bottom floors (1F/2F), usage is similar to double decker operations, in that the bottom car can only register odd floors, and the top car registers even floors. However, passenger calls from floors above the base floors, could be answered by either car — a passenger going down from an even floor may be picked up by the bottom car, to arrive at 1F lobby directly).

    Single Deck Operation may be used during evening hours where less passengers need to be served. In this mode the top car is turned off, and passengers can travel to any floor in the bottom car from the first floor (there’s extra space for the top car to park, when the bottom car serves the top floor of that elevator section).

  11. I am a big fan of the Taipei 101!!! I went up the the observatory deck a month ago!!! it was super, and i bought lots of stuff in the gift shop!!!

  12. The elevator video is now LIVE on Google Videos. Please click my name below to visit the video page. :-)

    The main building tenant elevators have extreme security clearances and it’s impossible for outsiders to waltz right in to see how they work!

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