Going Up? Stylish New Elevator Testing Tower Rises Above

The skyline of Japan's Inazawa City has a whole new look today, dominated by the Solae Elevator Testing Tower.

Solae by nightSolae by night

A true triumph of architectural design, Solae is not only sleek and stylish but at 567 ft high, is the world's tallest elevator testing tower.

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation of Japan announced Solae with great fanfare at last year's World Elevator and Escalator Expo, showcasing the project to builders and city planners from across the globe.

There's a great need for this type of testing facility as skyscrapers have come back in style again. The current champion highrise, Taiwan's 1,666 ft "Taipei 101", is expected to be dethroned by new space-scrapers rising in Dubai, Shanghai, Moscow and Chicago.

Even merry olde London has caught the bug: the 1,017 ft high "Shard" will be Europe's tallest building when completed. A much larger image of the comparison shot below can be seen here).

What all these buildings have in common is the need for elevators to shuttle people from top to bottom and back again. Extra-tall buildings present extra-large problems, including long travel times, air pressure changes and the heavy weight of long cables.

These challenges will be met through vigorous testing in towers like Solae, whose record-breaking height will allow engineers to push components to their breaking points - so they WON'T break in real-world use. (via BBC News, night photo via S.Mori)

Steve Levenstein
Japanese Innovations Writer