Town of towers welcomes new pillar of the community

Communities need many things to thrive. People are essential, and buildings provide the physical framework for them to live their lives: practically, economically and emotionally.

Rottweil is a quaint little German town just south of the fabled Black Forest along the Neckar River. Visitors come from all over Europe to experience the outward beauty of Rottweil “die Stadt der Türme” (town of towers), and find an internal wealth of art galleries and cultural offerings, as well. Now, they’ll also be coming for the best view in Germany. If they’re engineers, they may also be coming to work.

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Published on 16.12.2014

Coming home to Rottweil

The Romans founded Rottweil almost two thousand years ago, and the center of the town has remained largely unchanged since the 16th century. Today Rottweil is the new site for an advanced new elevator-testing tower that will complement the historic spires and towers of the old town.

thyssenkrupp Elevator chose Rottweil after an exhaustive search, in part because of its close proximity to roughly 10,000 university engineering students, the elevator plant in Neuhausen, the R&D center in Pliezhausen, and major transportation networks nearby. 

Pioneering the future of vertical transportation

The need for innovative transportation is what makes this new tower necessary – human vertical transportation. As high-rise buildings grow ever taller, the demands on elevator technology are rapidly increasing. The elevators of tomorrow will be far faster and more complex than at present, and they will certainly rely on revolutionary engineering methods never used before. Most existing towers are simply not equipped to test these futuristic technologies for safety and performance.

As high-rise buildings grow ever taller, the demands on elevator technology are rapidly increasing.

Rottweil’s new 244-meter tall, elevator-testing tower is specifically designed with the future in mind. With 11 testing shafts housed within its 21-meter diameter shell, engineers can test elevator speeds of up to a mind-boggling 18 meters per second. The tower firmly places Rottweil at the very hub of future urban vertical transportation.

Three shafts, each of them with a height of 100 metres, are dedicated to testing innovative new TWIN and MULTI systems. The MULTI sytem is the realization of a dream for operating multiple cabins simultaneously in the same elevator shaft. It introduces “mag-lev” train technology to the elevator industry, increases shaft transport capacity by up to 50%, and dramatically reduces the elevator footprint in buildings.


The Rottweil elevator testing tower

"The public observation deck will attract visitors with its views of Rottweil – the oldest town in Baden-Württemberg – as well as the Black Forest, the Swabian Alb mountains and, in good weather, even the Swiss Alps.”

Ralf Bross

Mayor of Rottweil

Meeting many needs

Scheduled for completion in 2016, the tower will offer visitors the highest observation deck in Germany. But that’s not part of the testing process. Instead, it’s part of how the project has carefully mixed the needs of the local community with the needs of technology, demonstrating how industry, when it places the community at the center of its planning, can form an alliance that benefits everyone, and provide balance in the face of change.

Local participation was woven into the project from the start. Community events welcoming the latest addition to the “town of towers” have included a contest to name the tower, and contributions to a time capsule within the foundation stone. Community members were involved in all phases of planning, and ideas generated by them – such as the observation deck – were incorporated into the building plan. Renowned architects Helmut Jahn and Werner Sobek designed the building itself, employing special materials and a unique two-fold construction to deliver both performance and pleasing aesthetics.

The architecture salutes and complements the existing town towers, organically and artistically creating a lasting landmark of respect for both tradition and innovation. But innovation has always been a part of tradition in Rottweil. In olden times, the town thrived on its skill in various industries, including cloth, metal and cattle. Two examples of Rottweil’s talents are the Rottweiler breed of dog, and the breakthrough military technology of smokeless gunpowder. And who knows what innovation tomorrow will bring?

“The people of Rottweil see the tower as a great opportunity for our town, and the project has the support of a broad majority of the local population and the municipal council. It makes our town more attractive to other forward-looking companies.”

Ralf Bross

Mayor of Rottweil

See how an elevator testing tower becomes the largest candle in the world.

More info about the christmas candle event and the testing tower you’ll find on this special website