Purchasing new hardware? Read our latest product comparisons

Spiral skyscraper replaces stairs with two rising intertwined ramps


August 7, 2014

The Endless City in Height concept from Sure Architecture (Image: Sure Architecture)

The Endless City in Height concept from Sure Architecture (Image: Sure Architecture)

Image Gallery (7 images)

The levels of a building are traditionally stacked upon one another with stairs or elevators used as a means of moving between them. A new design by Sure Architecture, however, takes a different approach. The Endless City in Height instead features two low gradient ramps that spiral upwards.

The Endless City in Height concept aims to show how buildings need not necessarily use traditional compartmental levels. The design does away with the breaks between floors to which we have become accustomed, replacing them with two intertwined low gradient ramps. In this way, argues Sure Architecture, the building becomes merely an extension of the street or sidewalk below and of the city as a whole. In addition to providing a means for people to move up or down the building, the ramps are interconnected with bridges. This allows for greater access throughout the building.

Sure Architecture suggests that the ramps themselves might be of irregular and varying sizes, thus creating a variety of different environments and spaces within the building. The building, it suggests, could be a complex and rich system like a real city, featuring "commercial and vibrating streets, innovative and technologic spaces, huge parks or public places which communicate with auditorium, inside or outside areas, dynamic exchange places or intimate quiet areas."

Beyond its spiral ramps, it is proposed that the building would minimize water loss by reusing water where possible, would maximize passive energy use and reduce artificial lighting, ventilation and cooling needs. Six vertical tubes would support the ramps and would provide vertical transport spaces for people, energy, waste, water and prefabricated modular steel elements for the skyscraper's growth.

The Endless City in Height was designed with a location in London in mind, though it remains to be seen whether it will ever make the jump from design concept to construction.

Source: Sure Architecture

About the Author
Stu Robarts Stu is a tech writer based in Liverpool, UK. He has previously worked on global digital estate management at Amaze and headed up digital strategy for FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). He likes cups of tea, bacon sandwiches and RSS feeds. All articles by Stu Robarts

Above four floors, people either would not get outside much or be in increasingly healthier shape as their residences neared the top.

Robert Walther

"Six vertical tubes would support the ramps and would provide vertical transport spaces for people, energy, waste, water and prefabricated modular steel elements for the skyscraper's growth."

Sounds like elevators to me.

Fairly Reasoner

Have fun identifying what level you are on, (gradient 6.5 NNW sector B)

Sell it as a skate park for the upwardly mobile...

Bob Flint

If that is your sole takeaway after reading the article, you've missed the point. Elevators of some type will always be needed to move large, heavy furniture and supplies .and occasionally people.

The design isn't intended to eliminate elevators. It purpose is to essentially to create a single long, uninterrupted level as opposed to the multiple floors of conventional construction.

It is a unique design, but won't be practical for every application..

Noel K Frothingham

I agree, 'vertical transport spaces for people, ' does sound like elevators.

I assume if one uses the ramps, one would have to rest every so often getting to the top or be healthy to walk that far.

IMO, it looks like a stack of papers that have been cut into shapes.


It would take you an hour to reach the top floor! This is just ridiculous. How would you possibly maximize the space above the 10th floor. No one is going to walk up all that way. It's interesting, but it's NOT functional.


I'm with Bob Flint on this one "Sell it as a skate park for the upwardly mobile," but I would address more for the downwardly mobile. I reckon that by the time they hit the street, a skateboarder would be going some, though I think any speed record would probably be awarded posthumously.

Mel Tisdale

Impressive looking but totally impractical. People who live in high rises may not take well to having strangers walking by their windows. It offers unlimited take off points for base jumpers and suicidal maniacs. All that 'shelving' will create unpredictable and risky situations with wind and rain. The bridges are too large and will significantly darken the light shaft for the lower floors. Residential buildings like this should be crowned with glass atria at the tops, instead of flat and boring surfaces of little use. Elevators to go up, yes, but taking the ramps to go down will take too long, and since these ramps occupy valuable real estate in the structure, they may become a sore point for the developers.

But it sure looks nice!


This is similar to the Horton Plaza shopping center in San Diego, with more levels & multiple rather than a single use. Drapes, blinds & windows set above eye level will protect privacy as they already do the world over. Creative guard rail design combined with video surveillance will make jumping from the ramps impractical. A retractable roof will be necessary, though, to keep the open area comfortable & to minimize energy consumption in cold & very hot weather.


How to build a skyscraper without a huge crane, all of the materials can be drove to there destination with relatively small equipment. Bravo ! Elevators can be added at any point in the build. As the cranes main support in traditional construction is used as the elevator shaft in some buildings. Now i'm no expert, but this seems like how the pyramids of Ancient Egypt might have been built. It falls under the KISS system of engineer/building or just doing things smart. And not needing a crane might save some cash on a build. Anyone know what a 100 story 50 ton crane costs ?

Jay Finke

I like this idea. And I agree with what Noel K Frothingham said, there would still be elevators, because it said the tubes would provide vertical transport spaces for people. You could differentiate "floors" by color.

Sonya B

vibrating streets! come on

Neil Farbstein

I think everyone knows it will require elevators. Each shaft would need a different identifier, like a letter. Then using A as a starting point, the floors spiral up with one rotation being each floor. This could work for a residential tower, but a business environment may want sole possession of a floor (or several) with definite separation. Still, interesting concept.

Bruce H. Anderson

Guggenheim New York beaten with a stick. Still great for wheelchair bound getting out in a fire.


the Westfield shopping center in Hurstville Nsw Australia is designed with the floors on a spiral (well squrared spiral) arrangement so you to get to most of it walking clock wise or anti clock wise it does have lifts and escalators the only issue is quite easy to become disoriented to what floor you are on and if each "level" is similar could get very confusing

Bruce Gurney
Post a Comment

Login with your Gizmag account:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our articles