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Can This Elevator Help Designers Sidestep Tall-Building Problems?

Thyssenkrupp’s design travels horizontally and diagonally, in addition to up and down, freeing up square footage that would otherwise be commandeered for a shaft. But is it a whole new mode of transit?
The elevator of the future will shuttle sideways, too.
The elevator of the future will shuttle sideways, too. Thyssenkrupp

Half the world’s population already lives in cities, and that number is expected to jump to 70 percent by the end of the century. To accommodate the new urban dwellers, cities will have to build higher—and that will mean doubling down on ways to transport residents from the ground up into the sky.

The medieval town of Rottweil, in rural South Germany, may seem like an odd place to contemplate the high-tech future. (The locale’s claim to fame is breeding the Rottweiler dog.) But Thyssenkrupp, an industrial company based out of Essen, managed to do so last month, at a flashy event promising to change how we design, build, and occupy tall buildings.