The glass lift enclosure

The Asplund-designed glass enclosure for the lift at the Gothenburg Courthouse takes minimalist ideas to their furthest extreme with a transparent cabin ascending within the open space to the balconies on first and second floor. The siting is placed at the critical junction between the main entrance and the base to the formal stairs rising to the first floor courts. Reference back to Figure 2.7a reveals the way the balance is struck between the formality of the judges and the modernity of the lift. This design is taken one stage further by Richard Rogers Partnership at 88 Wood Street (Figure 13.3) where two sides of the lift shaft are external walls which give great interest to passers-by at street level. The lift itself is an elegant glass cabin, including walls, door, floor and ceiling.

The next example is concerned with the detailing of the glass cabin and screening to the pair of hydraulic lifts which connect the basement, ground and mezzanine floors in the Sainsbury Arts Centre, Norwich, completed in 1977 by Foster and Partners. The first sketches by Norman Foster indicated glass walls wrapped round a minimal steel frame, with a grilled ceiling to cope with maintenance access and the housing for door mechanisms. The final details of the toughened glass enclosure to both the shaft and lift cars minimize their visual intrusion into the gallery. Using hydraulic rams means that the drive machinery is concealed at basement level. The precision jigging and high quality welding in the lift cars was a result of involving a car maker with the fabrication. Steel and aluminum for the moving parts are enamelled

How Enclose Spiral Staircase
Figure 11.5a The 'bird cages' designed for screens and cars at the Johnson Building, Racine, 1936, Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright

white while the static elements are aluminium or plated steel to match the metal finishes at mezzanine level. Figure 11.5c details the lift car as manufactured and the view in Figure 11.54 places the design within the context of the gallery space.

Compliance with safety requirements can often change a remarkable experience to one that is mediocre. The polished cages that graced Selfridges (1916) in times past now reside in the London Museum (Figure 11.5 e) while the replacements are not worth recording.

The notable exception from our own time are the lifts placed in the open

Spiral Enclosure Space

Figure 11.5b External wall-climber lifts, Channel 4, 1994 (Richard Rogers Partnership)

space encompassed by Le Grand Arche, Paris. The change in siting from internal to external has made a masterpiece of the composition (Figures 11.5/ and 11.5g). The asymmetry and grand modelling provide a sense of surprise; they captivate the eye from a distance and fulfil the visual qualities needed when close up to an overscaled building. The 'cat's cradle' of cables contrasts with the panel grid façade. The movement through space to the exhibition hall above is an experience that rivals that obtained from the Otis route to the second platform of the Eiffel Tower.

How Enclose Spiral Staircase

part »action and part alavatioa ot lift (scala 1 :«0)

part »action and part alavatioa ot lift (scala 1 :«0)

Figure 11.5c Section detail of glass and steel framing to lifts at the Sainsbury Arts Centre, Norwich, 1977, Architect: Foster and Partners

0 0

Post a comment