Innovative elevator runs on the outside of buildings: ‘The next chapter of life’

Elevators haven’t been updated much in 150 years but PLP Architecture wants to change that. 

PLP’s IUMO, formerly known as the SkyPod, is an elevator that runs outside of buildings instead of inside. That means IUMO doesn’t just go up and down, it can twist, turn and go in any direction the user requires. Unlike traditional elevators, IUMO runs on a track embedded onto the building’s façade. 

In action it looks almost like a roller coaster-elevator hybrid as it goes up, down and loops around a building, in the video

However, the passengers inside IUMO aren’t flipping upside down with it, in fact, the futuristic elevator won’t even make your ears pop. IUMO works like a gyroscope. The passenger cart is totally stabilized and always horizontal, while the part that connects to the track is what rotates. 

“[It uses] the same dynamic digital stabilization systems of high-speed trains,” PLP stated. “Propelling this is a linear induction motor system similar to that used by roller coasters and Maglev trains.” 

But the goal isn’t just to transform elevators, it’s also to reimagine the experience of actually riding one. 

“Imagine a fully-integrated digital and physical infrastructure in which your journey begins at home, pauses at your favorite cafe and ends directly on your 55th-floor office,” PLP said

The company believes that IUMO will be able to change the way buildings are designed in the future too. Traditional elevators, which require expensive shafts to be installed, already affect a building’s architecture. 

“IUMO will allow for new types of buildings that, despite their height, are holistically integrated with the grain of the city around them,” PLP stated. “The elevator has been a primary influence on the shape and appearance of the modern city to date. We believe that its inevitable demise will be the catalyst for the next chapter in the life of the city.”

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