The Revolator Could Have Been Revolutionary

We know that increasing density and going vertical can be a good way to go green, but how do you entice people off the ground floor? Modern Mechanix recently showed an interesting idea: The Revolator, a different kind of elevator for vertical shopping centers.They transcribe the text:

Cabs in this people-mover will whisk up and down on a continuous belt--something like a Ferris wheel. The Revolator is planned for a multilevel shopping center that's being built in Morristown, N.J. Each cab will hold 150 shoppers, so a six-unit system could transport 40,000 an hour--far more than elevators or escalators. Cabs will move in unison every 60 seconds, stopping at each floor. The glass-enclosed system gives shoppers a view of all stores as they pass each floor. "Visibility and store frontage are of prime consideration in vertical centers," says architect Lathrop Douglas whose firm conceived the Revolator.

It is an interesting idea, an elevator that never really stops, just bumps from floor to floor. I recalled a sort of constantly moving elevator from fifties movies that commenters at BoingBoing say is a Paternoster. Googling the architect's name, I came up with a Lathrop Douglass and thought it was simply a mis-spelling, but emailed him for more information. He replied:

As much as I would like to take credit, this actually evolved from my father's office (Douglass with 2 ss's) in New York. (Same names) Unfortunately, he died in 1981. His office specialized in shopping center design both here in the US, Europe and South America.

I entered into the architecture profession just when my father died, so I'm afraid I'm not privey to this particular scheme. It's a treat to see this. I don't see this really moving more people than escalators can unless at "peak" crowd hours. Otherwise these would be ever so popular today...as opposed to amusement attractions as they often are.

He then noted that there is a version of this completed and functioning, that we have covered in TreeHugger: The Falkirk Wheel in Scotland.

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