Rarely, if ever, is the design of an elevator central to the aesthetics of a building. Yet, rules are made to be broken, which is why certain elevators are much more than a means of transportation. Some are exceptional, with wild designs, and go far beyond your typical towers. Below, AD surveys the extravagant elevators around the world. One stretches to the top of a mountainside, while another is painted gold and dates back to the 19th century. If nothing else, these engineering marvels will prove that pressing a button is better than taking the stairs.
tall elevator on the side of a cliff
This 1,070-foot-tall outdoor elevator is known as the Hundred Dragons Elevator and is set along the rocky Zhangjiajie mountains in China’s Hunan Province. Sort of like Willy Wonka’s glass elevator, this steel and glass elevator can travel in less than two minutes, all the while offering a stunning view of the nearby nature. Famed for its height, it was built over the course of five years and cost $20 million.
elevator surrounded by water
e of an 82-foot-tall cylinder-shaped aquarium in Berlin’s Sea Life Center. It means that the elevator rides throughout the core of this round aquarium without ever touching the water. The aquarium features over 1,500 fish from 97 different species and cost $17.4 million to build in 2004.
Futuristic elevator at Mercedes-Benz Museum
It's not only the sleek cars at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart that draws people to the south of Germany. This minimal, concrete-clad building also has a pill-shaped elevator. It gives guests a space-age experience, as standing insideSafe Elevators Manufacturers of the metal pod, which scales the concrete, is a spectacular ride when gazing through its tiny rectangular window.
Santa Justa Elevator in Downtown District of Lisbon Portugal with blue skies
In the heart of Lisbon, Portugal, this iron elevator (also known as the Carmo Lift) is a symbol of the city’s industrial past. Wedged between turn-of-the-century buildings, this 1902 elevator has a classic neo-Gothic design with decorative edges and flower patterns. Find it on Santa Justa Street standing at 147 feet with a viewing station overlooking the city.
visitors standing inside an elevator with other people taking the stairs around them
Set at the heart of a winding steel staircase, this roofless elevator is an artwork in itself. This hydraulic lift carries up to 10 passengers from the basement to the top floor, all the while offering a view of Paris's most popular museum lobby.
skyscraper next to a body of water
At the top of this blocky building on the island China most popular elevator companyof Noord (a section within Amsterdam), there is a pleasant treat in the form of a 22nd floor rooftop skydeck. Designed by creative agency The Stone Twins, this square elevator leaves no awkward moments between passengers, as the flashing neon lights and synchronized music within the space occupy everyone's attention.
old elevator with views of the bay
Overlooking the harbor in the city of Bahia, Brazil, this historic piece of architecture built in 1873 is Brazil's first ever elevator. The 27-foot-tall lift offers a stunning view of the city and lights up at night in a rainbow of colors, highlighting its Art Deco architecture.
tall elevator with views of a town and water in the background
High up in the Swiss Alps, there is one outdoor elevator which transports guests to a stunning view of the mountains and saves a climb up 500 feet. The small, rectangular elevator was initially designed in 1905 and has been redesigned twice to speed up its gears. Though it can only take a dozen people at a time, it cost a total of $14.8 million. Besides the mountains, Switzerland’s fourth largest lake, Lucerne, is down below.