Defying The Boundaries Of Innovation

Making History with thyssenkrupp Elevator’s Innovation and Qualification Center

No Ordinary Elevator

Innovative is an understatement when we talk about thyssenkrupp Elevator’s groundbreaking Innovation and Qualification Center (IQC). It’s the kind of future-forward project that demands excellence. One that pushes the boundaries of what innovation means, requiring that each participating partner be an expert and visionary in his or her own specialty.

Upon completion in 2021, the 400-foot-tall IQC building will feature the tallest elevator test tower in the U.S. With 12 shafts, the test tower will facilitate the testing and qualification of existing technologies and promote the advancement of innovative breakthroughs, such as thyssenkrupp’s MULTI solution, the first cable-less elevator that moves vertically and horizontally. Sitting atop the test tower are three levels of premium conference and observation space with 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape.

One Historic Milestone At A Time

The IQC is part of thyssenkrupp’s new three-building North American headquarters campus located in The Battery Atlanta. As thyssenkrupp’s largest ever U.S. endeavor, the project is a critical element of a larger strategic plan to raise its visibility and brand awareness, recruit and keep the finest employees, encourage innovation, improve quality, and deliver cutting-edge transportation technology to its clients.

When thyssenkrupp engaged Darden as the project manager, we knew we were in for an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Working with architect Gensler, general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie, and an extensive team of engineers and consultants, we were able to lead the project team through a complex set of challenges.

The most notable of which was erecting the project’s pièce de résistance, the 400-foot-tall test tower, using a technique uncommon in the U.S. called slip-form construction, which requires a 24/7 operation of installing, reinforcing, and placing concrete material.

Brasfield & Gorrie’s team completed the work in 53 days compared to more conventional techniques that would have taken twice as a long and cost significantly more.

This historic milestone could not have been achieved without the project team all pulling together in the same direction. Not only were we using new technologies and techniques, but we were also working on an extremely small job site that abutted I-285 and was bordered on two sides by high pressure pipelines that serve the entire Southeast. Talk about precision – a portion of the building was constructed within two feet of an existing electronic sign!

The Next Frontier

Innovation persists and it is all systems go as we continue to progress towards the Fall 2021 opening. The exterior cladding of the elevator tower is underway as our team actively procures furniture and equipment and coordinates the installation of test equipment and IT infrastructure. Signature features of the tower will come to life as we install an LED lighting system display in the glass elevator enclosure and create an immersive showroom experience. And to manage the safety and security of the tower, a robust visitor management system will be installed that allows thyssenkrupp to welcome and track the large volume of visitors expected.

Each day we collaborate and push the envelope of innovation, knowing that this tower (and the accompanying 60,000 sf laboratory, research, and training space) will influence future evolutions in design and construction.
Stay tuned for more updates as we continue working to bring this legendary building to life.

Author: Joe Collins, Senior Vice President, is a 30-year veteran of the construction industry who has been engaged as the leader of Darden & Company’s program management team on the thyssenkruppp Innovation and Qualification Center and adjacent headquarters building. As one of the first consultants engaged to oversee the design and construction process, Joe remains focused on aligning the team around the stated project goals. He has confidence in the team that he helped assemble and looks to forward to opening the doors on this innovative project for thyssekkrupp Elevator as he has done for other clients like Emory St. Joseph’s, Grady Health, and Northside Hospital Cherokee.

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