Don’t ask me why, but a recent FastCompany magazine article titled “Erie Photos of Abandoned Shopping Malls Show the Changing Face of Suburbia” caught my eye. The article focuses on the failure of the economy in Cleveland, Ohio, which has lost half of its population since the malls were built in 1976. Among the dying vegetation, broken glass and empty stores depicted in the photos were elevators and escalators, staples in malls all over the world. According to the article, over the next couple of decades, as many as half of the malls in the U.S. may be abandoned.
Seph Lawless, author of the article, blames the economy, at least part of the shift also has to do with bad design. Fewer people want to live or shop in the suburbs, and fewer people want to spend their free time under depressing fluorescent lights indoors. If malls are going extinct, that’s just another opportunity to retrofit suburbia–either by building smarter, denser developments, like this new neighborhood built in a former mall parking lot, or by turning the land back into green space.
So, as we finally begin to see commercial construction slowly increase after years of difficult economic times, it seems malls may not be a part of this trend. Oh how we will miss you Glamour Shots, mall walkers and shady cell phone cover salesman.
Skyview, the spherical gondolas that traverse the outer shell of the world’s largest spherical building, Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, offers stunning views of the skyline from 130 m above sea level. While people flock to pop concerts by the likes of Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga in the globe’s arena, the gondolas are a draw in their own right. According to the Skyview website, you can even arrange to get married or hold a business meeting within one of them, although I don’t see how one could concentrate on PowerPoint presentations and pie graphs in such surroundings. A tour takes approximately 20 minutes — longer, I suppose, if enduring nuptials or a business meeting. Ericsson Globe was inaugurated in 1989. It has has a diameter of 110 m, and its inner height is 85 m. The gondolas were built by ski lift manufacturers in Ostersund, Sweden.
The television network station TNT (Turner Network Television) recently launched an international print advertising campaign that asked readers/potential viewers “to imagine how life becomes more interesting when you add some drama to it.” One of the advertisements caught my eye because it involves a crowded elevator….and a skunk! Yes,TNT, that would cause a lot of drama! Guaranteed.
Hundreds of Tetris fans had a little fun recently with a big version of the classic video game. If you are not familiar with Tetris, the game challenges players to rotate and arrange falling shapes into complete rows. Using a joystick, players were able to move images of supersized shapes displayed on two sides of the 29-story Cira Centre through hundreds of LED lights embedded in its glass facade. Thats a 100,000 -square-foot (9,300-square- metre) playing surface – possibly a world record! The event helped kick off Philly Tech Week and celebrate the upcoming 30th anniversary of the game. Looks like a lot of fun!
Vanity Fair takes a look at the tall-building boom in NYC, which includes some of the priciest and tallest residences ever conceived.
The May issue of Vanity Fair includes Scarlett Johansson on the cover, some beefcake photos of a ripped Neil Patrick Harris, and a feature on the tall-building boom going on right now in New York City, with each tower thinner, taller and more expensive than the last. Amazingly, a 96th-floor residence in one of them — 432 Park Avenue — sold for US$95 million. So, being a mere millionaire wouldn’t necessarily guarantee one a spot in one of these stylish high rises. Should all the towers be built, they promise to reshape the Manhattan skyline. Centered around Midtown – 57th Street in particular — they include 225 West 57th Street, which would be the tallest residential building in the U.S. at 1,423 ft. tall.; the Robert M. Stern-designed 220 Central Park South at 920 ft. tall; the already complete and occupied 157 57th Street at 1,004 ft. tall; the 1,397-ft.-tall, 60-ft.-wide 111 West 57th Street; 432 Park Avenue, which at 1,396 ft. would be 150 ft. taller than the Empire State Building; the Jean Nouvel-designed 53 West 53rd Street that features a tapered, modern profile and would stand 1,050 ft. tall; and the “short” building, 520 Park Avenue, which would stand 700 ft. and 51 stories. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, 157 57th Street has eight elevators that travel at maximum speeds of 8.13 mps.
I do not have much information on this photo except that is supposed to be an Apple iPhone ad called “Endless Apps”. Pretty clever!
I saw this story over at the Elevator Radio Show website and thought that our reading audience would enjoy it. As you know, the population of most urban areas is very large and continues to grow. Many times there are not sufficient amounts, or forms, of transportation available. This particular combination typically spells inconvenience when trying to commute. So, many forms of transportation continue to get larger, more efficient and apparently unusual.
Here’s your guide to unusual modes of inner-city transport as compiled by theguardian.com. It just so happens that several forms of vertical transportation make this list – from large outdoor escalators to the world’s largest urban cable car.
“I Love Chile,” part of an English-Spanish media conglomerate dedicated to all things Chile, recently published on its website a column by German correspondent Carolin Dudda about Valparaiso’s disappearing ascensores, also known as funiculars or cliff railways. Reflecting the colorful and eclectic 19th and 20th-century architecture that surrounds them, the lifts have been used for more than 130 years to carry residents to their hillside homes. Today the few remaining — five out an an original 31 — are mostly used by tourists. Dudda recommends going to ride one as soon as possible, before they all fall victim to disrepair and changing times.
National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII®) recently Tweeted the below video. The video shows an “out of this world” escalator ride at the Atomium in Brussels. The theme was part of their Cosmos Exposition. Check it out – pretty cool!
ESCALATOR-ATOMIUM-BRUXELLES from Visual System on Vimeo.
Australian actor Jesse Spencer
It was revealed today by everyone from People Magazine to Perez Hilton that a seemingly innocuous news piece about members of a tour group getting stuck on an Illinois state Capitol elevator during a tour on March 30 had the privilege, some would say, of being stuck with Australian actor Jesse Spencer. Well known for playing Dr. Richard Chase on the American medical drama “House,” Spencer currently stars in the TV drama “Chicago Fire.” That’s fitting, since the story, published today on Elevator World’s website, had a lot to do with the Springfield Fire Department, who Spencer ended up calling when he and fellow passengers felt the Capitol building’s elevator contractor was taking too long too arrive. Spencer was among about 25 passengers who were freed by the fire department, which Spencer was gracious enough to pose for a photo with after the rescue. Today, he tweeted the photo with the caption, “Thanks Springfield FD saved us from an elevator at the Capitol Building. Stuck for an hour, I muscled the doors open.”