As a service to the readers of this blog, including those who may find themselves living in the new tall, thin towers whose construction many New Yorkers oppose, here are some thoughts on the ins and outs of life on the high side. The subject is megatower elevators.
First, the ups and downs. Waiting in the lobby for an elevator, or in the sky lobby waiting to transfer to the elevator to your apartment above the clouds, may put you in contact with your neighbors. But that’s okay. There is a lot to talk about, starting with the rate of ascent for megatower elevators. Too slow may mean too much time with your neighbors even after climbing aboard. Too fast may be nauseating.
At One57, the supertall at 157 West 57th, it takes 30 seconds to get to the 90th floor, according to the Wall Street Journal. The building actually only has 75 floors (or 73, according to another source) and is merely marketed as being 90 stories tall. Seventy-five stories in 30 seconds doesn’t buzz as well as 90 in 30.
According to the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, engineers seeking optimal elevatoring parameters must factor in traffic planning, ride comfort (too fast fosters queasiness), and piston effect (noise caused by air flow between shaft and elevator housing). Also building sway (which we’ll also consider from the standpoint of the apartment experience), and stack effect, the flow of air from outside a building, which can combine with sway to create “lateral quaking,” sideways acceleration heading up. (That’s spelled “quacking” in a Finland-based Kone Corp. report on elevator engineering delivered at the 2010 CTBUH conference in Mumbai).