Kirchgasse Zürich

Project: Rooftop lift
Architecture: Kaspar Schläpfer - Zurich
Photos: Merlin Photography

Within historic walls, an innovative construction arises: the Rooftop Elevator, harmonizing comfort and heritage conservation.

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The Sky Climber: An Elevator that Breaks Boundaries

Within historic walls, an innovative construction arises: the Rooftop Elevator, harmonizing comfort and heritage conservation. The greatest architectural and technical challenge was to elevate the lift to the rooftop terrace - an endeavor made difficult by objections from heritage conservationists.

 

Navigating Through Legal and Conservation Challenges

Due to core zone regulations, the construction of a permanent shelter for the lift on the roof was prohibited. Our proposal was to allow just the lift cabin, topped with a separate glass cover, to ascend to the terrace from the fifth floor. The heritage conservation authorities consented to this mobile solution. In addition to stringent fire regulations, other legal requirements had to be met, particularly regarding wheelchair accessibility. For example, it was imperative to install an 80 cmwide door opening instead of 70 cm.

To flood the dim stairwell with as much daylight as possible, we designed the floor, roof, and walls of the cabin in maximum glass transparency. Solutions for building physics and static problems had to be found. Ideas were concretized and implemented in collaboration with the architect and the client. The elevator shaft was left in its raw state. Various elements of the old elevator are still visible. Using the lift, the technology becomes directly tangible. Besides the design and technical challenges, precise craftsmanship and a delicate touch were required for the installation: the new elevator has a larger cabin with the same shaft size, with the smallest distance to the shaft wall being only 45 mm. Millimeter precision was also needed in the manufacturing of the glass cover, which is lifted by a separate spindle drive.

 

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To flood the dim stairwell with as much daylight as possible, we designed the floor, roof, and walls of the cabin in maximum glass transparency.

 

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Using the lift, the technology becomes directly tangible.

 

Specialized Expertise and Precision Work

Despite the complexity on many levels, all requirements were met. The glass elevator brings the desired daylight from top to bottom into the stairwell. At night, a light strip in the elevator shaft provides the desired lighting for the stairwell as well. The glass cover on the rooftop terrace withstands all weather conditions, even extreme ones such as intense sunlight, heavy rain, and large snow loads. With the Rooftop Elevator, the house has gained sustainably in comfort and livability.

 

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The smallest distance to the shaft wall being only 45 mm. Millimeter precision was also needed in the manufacturing of the glass cover, which is lifted by a separate spindle drive.

 

Project Highlights

  • Planung und Einbau einer High-Tech-Konstruktion für den Liftersatz in einem denkmalpflegerisch wertvollen Gebäude
  • Enge Zusammenarbeit zwischen dem Architekten, der Bauherrschaft, städtischen Behörden (Denkmalpflege, Feuerpolizei) und diversen Fachspezialisten
  • Hohe Komplexität aufgrund der bauphysikalischen und statischen Herausforderungen

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