Research Project

Skybridges: Bringing the Horizontal into the Vertical Realm

Project Start: October 2018
Project Completion: August 2020
Principal Investigators: Antony Wood, Peng Du & Daniel Safarik, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

As many architects and visionaries have shown over a period spanning more than a century, the recreation of the urban realm in the sky through connections between buildings at height has a vast potential for the enrichment of our cities. To many it seems nonsensical that, although the twentieth, and now twenty-first century, has clearly seen a push towards greater height and urban density in our major urban centers, the ground-pavement level remains almost exclusively the sole physical plane of connection. As the world rapidly urbanizes, greater thought needs to be expended on how horizontal space can be developed at height. Today, new transportation technology, and relatively new structural engineering practices, seem to put horizontal habitat in the sky within reach. But cultural, organizational, and jurisdictional obstacles remain. To overcome these, a solid case needs to be made for the extensive benefits of skybridges in a much wider application than has been seen historically.

The purpose of this research project, kindly funded by thyssenkrupp Elevator, is to succinctly capture the state-of-the-art in skybridge design, as well as put forward a set of principles for future development. The CTBUH believes it is likely we will see more skybridges, and more horizontal development at height between tall buildings, especially with the advent of the ropeless elevator, which can operate multiple cabins in a single shaft, as well as horizontally. But there is no guarantee that future skybridge-linked projects, let alone cities, will be of high quality unless we begin to seriously analyze how well the existing structures function, and learn from them. This research therefore marks an important milestone in the development of an urban space that has persisted through utopian visions and emerged as a practical, point solution in isolated cases, but now is emerging as a major design typology. We seek to provide a framework for better understanding the skybridge and improving upon it.


Funding Partner

Research Output

The Space Across: Skybridges and the Future City

Price: $50

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Steering Committee Members

Allen Dusault
Senior Program Manager, Franklin Energy Services LLC
dato-hashimah-hashim Dato Hashimah Hashim
Putrajaya Holdings Executive Director, Individuals
markus-jetter Markus Jetter
Chief Engineer High Rise and Functional Safety, TK Elevator GmbH
Pierre Leflour
Structural Engineer, setec tpi
Lucas Mager
Technology Manager, TK Elevator GmbH
Thomas Manjarres
Energy Engineer, Franklin Energy Services LLC
bujar-morava Bujar Morava
Senior Technical Director & Principal, RWDI
Michael Ridder
Head of Communications & Marketing MULTI, TK Elevator GmbH
carlo-segato Carlo Segato
Structural Engineer, ECSD S.r.l.
allen-sun Allen Sun
Associate Director, Arup

About the Funding Partner

In 40 short years, thyssenkrupp Elevator has become one of the world’s leading elevator companies, with unique engineering capabilities. When done well, urban mobility drives down congestion, pollution, stress, and energy consumption. Our innovative, efficient, and reliable passenger transportation systems are key to getting it right in cities. Whether building a new state-of-the-art system or modernizing an existing one, thyssenkrupp Elevator’s products deliver crucial energy and time efficiencies.


Customers worldwide turn to thyssenkrupp Elevator to design, build, install, upgrade and maintain smart and innovative mobility systems for a wide variety of applications. Thyssenkrupp Elevator supports its customers around the world throughout their project lifecycle, from the design through to the end-of-life phase. Every step of the way, thyssenkrupp strives to fully understand their needs and consistently deliver the safest, highest quality passenger transportation solutions.


Capabilities include expert service with 24/7 availability as well as maintenance and modernization packages. thyssenkrupp’s highly skilled technicians efficiently service a multi-brand portfolio with more than 1.2 million units under maintenance. thyssenkrupp Elevator is reshaping the elevator industry and transforming cities into the best places to live. thyssenkrupp Elevator experts develop advanced solutions and innovatively apply existing technologies to address customer needs including:  


  • Higher transport capacity and efficiency
  • More efficient use of building floor space
  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Maximum availability of existing passenger transportation solutions



Research with us

The CTBUH research platform accommodates a wide variety of subjects and scales, while its vast network of industry leaders and city-shapers offers the ideal promotional stage upon project delivery. Get in touch with our team and learn how we can work together to fill the gap in your research needs.

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