How hydraulics can help architecture
 Hydraulikaufzug Shopping Center "Oceania Mall"

written by Michael Pyper on Monday, October 18, 2021

Elevators are often used as elements that help to form the architectural style. The particular characteristics of elevator hydraulics completely fulfill the design expectations.

Things are not always quite as spectacular as they are in the Moscow shopping mall "Oceania Mall". This aquarium elevator is a perfect example of what hydraulics is capable of in elevator design. The all-glass, freestanding elevator car, elegantly supported by a gleaming silver column, glides through shoals of shimmering fish. The technology takes a complete backseat - and yet at the same time makes its grand entrance. A visual exclamation mark for prestigious buildings like hotels and malls.

Space-saving, adaptable and unobtrusive

From an architect's point of view, there are many points in favor of hydraulic elevators. The cost of floor space continues to rise, so designers have to utilize it as efficiently as possible. A hydraulic elevator requires on average twelve percent less shaft space than a traction elevator, which is quite something. How is that possible? No counterweight is needed - which, by the way, also makes the elevator earthquake-resistant. This enables cars to be correspondingly larger or shafts smaller.

Or no shafts at all - for cantilevered, or "backpack" elevators just one load-bearing wall is sufficient. This ensures the greatest possible flexibility, as it allows door openings in the other three directions. The forces that occur act directly on the foundations, and do not have to be transferred via the shaft structure, as is the case with traction elevators. The guide rails can be smaller and can even be integrated invisibly into the cylinder if required.


Promblem solver in all situations

There are also considerable advantages when modernizing existing buildings, because architects do not have to take existing static loads and forces into consideration. Hydraulic elevators are therefore ideally suited for buildings without a shaft. They are also the right choice for buildings that might have additional floors added at a later stage.

The machine room with power unit can be placed anywhere - usually as far away from the residential apartments as possible. It is connected to the cylinder by a hydraulic hose, approx. five to six centimeters in diameter. The hose can be run along the basement walls with simple soundproofed pipe clamps, or it can be completely hidden in a trench in the floor.

Quite often, hydraulic elevators are the only possible solution for special applications. For example, descending car-lifts or underfloor elevators: the cylinder supports a solid base plate, which can be asphalted or paved and even driven over. Below it is a lift car for automobiles or goods, which appears out of "nowhere" just as quickly as it disappears underground again.


This is what helps architects and makes building owners happy

Designers and architects often have a responsibility to building owners. Excellent reliability and fail-safe operation of the hydraulics are a help here. Should emergency procedures actually be required, trained individuals on site can help quickly without entering the shaft. Opening the drain valve is all that is needed for the oil to flow back into the tank and the car to glide down smoothly.



At a glance: architectural highlights

  • Significantly better utilization of the shaft space than with traction elevators
  • A great deal of freedom for architects and designers when designing the elevator system
  • Free choice of cabin shape and doorways
  • The hydraulic power unit, the source of noise, can be positioned at some distance from the shaft and apartments

Additional information

Product page: 

Elevator Hydraulics



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