Skypod by PLP Architecture is a new and unique elevator system design that is connected by a series of pods that snakes around the exterior of the skyscraper instead of using the original pulley system that hasn’t been improved upon since the traditional elevator was originally invented 150 years ago. This project is for buildings that are 1000 metres or more tall.

PLP, a London based firm, said in a statement that “if current skyscrapers often feel monolithic, self-contained and sometimes indifferent to their context, Skypod will allow for new types of buildings that, despite their height, are holistically integrated with the grain of the city around them.”

Skypod could potentially move over 30,000 inhabitants over a large distance (888 m) in less than 2 minutes. The two-way high-speed track that the pods are connected to is approximately seven metres by five metres. The entire duration for a ride in Skypod to the top of a 1000 metre building is only 5 minutes.

Not only can PLP’s design transport you up the side of a skyscraper but it’s proposed to move left to right as well, making it a revolutionary new kind of elevator, but how does it work? Skypod features the innovative propulsion platform that’s based on maglev technology, which is a system of magnets that simultaneously pull and repulse as the pods glide along the track.

PLP Architecture’s plan is to liberate tall buildings from their traditional elevator design. Rather than having a single car dangling in one shaft, the firms design will turn the track into a vertical maglev train subway system for a seamless, multi-direction experience, not unlike Mr. Willy Wonka’s elevator in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

There’s only a few concerns when it comes to Skypod’s design. Wear and tear as well as natural disasters since the elevators will be exposed to the elements at all times. Plus, even the slightest programming error could have catastrophic results at unknown heights with the pods sharing the same track at such high speeds.

Though no buildings have an elevator like Skypod, we expect to see PLP Architecture’s innovative design in the future. The first 1km tall building is under construction in Saudi Arabia and set to open in 2020 so it might not be as far off as you might think.


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