Double-Deck Technology: Transforming Skyscrapers Through History

Giorgio Marfella
Lecturer
University of Melbourne, Melbourne



Since 1931, when Otis installed the first double-deck elevator in New York’s Cities Service Building (70 Pine Street) the technology widely spread throughout the globe. Initially designed to address multiple building entrances and improve occupants’ handling capacity in buildings where the volume of traffic would normally have a single elevator stopping at every floor, double-deck elevators became a transformative technology for the design of skyscrapers.

The next phase was a shuttle function, bringing forth skylobbies, stacked superstructures and taller buildings. While forgotten during the 1990s, double-deckers got a second life once they were paired with destination dispatch systems in the 2000s. Since then, the influence of double-decks have been expanding again as local elevator groups have enabled superslim structures and megatall skyscrapers. This presentation places the formative technology in a historical and industrial-development context.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation

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