Bespoke lift in St James’s Street, London
St James’s Street is one of the best-known and most distinguished streets in the central London district of St James’s, running down from Piccadilly to St James’s Palace and Pall Mall.
One of our best customers in the United Kingdom, a lift installation company with a well-founded reputation for excellence, recently entrusted us with the design and manufacture of a lift for a listed building in this emblematic London street. The project posed some interesting challenges:
- The installation of a passenger lift in a shaft of very reduced dimensions, including limited pit depth and headroom clearance.
- The need to pay due respect to the particular architectural and structural characteristics of a very unique building.
- The design of a lift car made to measure and finished with special materials chosen to blend harmoniously in with the building’s architecture and design.
The lift design solution
After carrying out a highly detailed study of the technical specifications of the project and the various design solutions available, IMEM Lifts finally proposed the manufacture of a lift system which includes a machine room and uses a drum drive unit, where the car hoist rope is led around the drive sheave, removing the need for a counterweight inside the shaft and thereby increasing the space available for the lift car, supported on a centred sling.
The lift carries 4 passengers, has a 300Kg (661lbs) rated load capacity – the maximum available given the shaft dimensions – and serves 6 stops with an overall travel distance of 15.18 metres (49.8ft). The plan area of the car is 0.79m² (8.5ft²) in a shaft of 1065x1065mm (1.13m²/12.16ft²).
These unusually small dimensions meant that we had to design and manufacture in correspondingly reduced sizes all the mechanical elements which support the electrical control components in the shaft – such as the position sensors, limit switches and overspeed governors, as well as the uppermost stanchion fixed to the shaft ceiling (incorporating a shock absorber, in compliance with EN 81-21:2009), in order to minimise their visual impact on this panoramic lift.
Unique lift car design
The project required the design of a panoramic lift car, glazed on three sides, to fit in well with the design and look of the building. Here, given the limited space available, we opted for a modular design where the car mountings were entirely invisible.
The car base was designed to slot seamlessly into the glazed wall panelling without using any intermediate component parts. The car operating panel, reinforced on its reverse side in accordance with our customer’s specifications, was also a one-off design due to its positioning and exceptional slimness. The button panel was manufactured with a G-Tex Bronze Pallinato finish to match the finish on the landing doors. All these features combine to produce a highly sophisticated design and a unique and exclusive lift car.
Once the final design was approved, we manufactured the lift car to specification and, only weeks later, the complete lift system was installed to the full satisfaction of our customer. The listed building in question now houses a reliable, hard-wearing and efficient lift, which blends in perfectly with its surroundings and notably improves the quality of life of the building’s owners and its all-round accessibility.