A new elivator for a unique building

The history of the town of Schramberg in the Black Forest is inseparably connected with the name of the clock manufacturer Junghans. His impressive factory, a terraced building, has been restored over two years at a great expense and converted into a new heritage- listed clock and watch museum.The levels of the old clock factory have been newly made accessible with the help of a modern inclined elevator from INAUEN-SCHÄTTI – despite the challenges connected with its status as a heritage-listed monument and problematic soil.

The inclined elevator runs along the façade of the terraced building and provides access to seven of its levels. Photo: Matthias Hangst/Gettyimages

Jürgen Bihlmaier, architectural firm Rapp & Bihlmaier

“The Junghans Terassenbau is a first-class cultural heritage monument and it was constructed in a very special way. For this reason, implementation of internal means of ascent was impossible both from the technical and legal points of view. Disabled-access to all levels could only be secured through an external inclined elevator. INAUEN-SCHÄTTI submitted the most convincing bid and prevailed over its competitors with the best price-performance ratio.”

“Traditional means of ascent, such as vertical elevators, escalators or conveyors, were not an option inside nor outside the building due to lack of space and technical unfeasibility. Moreover, the cultural heritage authorities did not allow any major conversion measures,” explains Jürgen Bihlmaier, architect and construction manager responsible for the Junghans project. Moreover, escalators and conveyors would not have been accessible for disabled visitors and entry to a public museum must have disabled access.

“Therefore, the only alternative left was an inclined elevator,” adds Bihlmaier. He further reports that the Swiss cableway manufacturer INAUEN-SCHÄTTI prevailed over several competitors in a tender for an inclined elevator. “The bid from Tschachen was most convincing for the builder. In terms of the price-performance ratio, INAUEN-SCHÄTTI was unbeatable,” explains the architect. Consequently, a construction contract was concluded in December 2016.

Foyer access. Photo: INAUEN-SCHÄTTI

Doors instead of windows

“We subsequently planned an installation that deviated from a standard inclined elevator solution in a number of aspects,” explains Pascal Voegtlin, project manager and vendor for Inauen- Schätti. In the routing, for example, the team had to rely on supports. “We assembled the tracks onto four pillars in the upper section to balance out the problematic soil underneath,” reports Voegtlin. To accommodate the cultural heritage authorities, our staff also had to place the technical room at the foot of the installation instead of the usual position on top under the track construction.

“The extension of the track construction accordingly called for a number of bypasses“, continues the project manager. Altogether, the 40-meter-long inclined elevator makes seven of the new levels accessible, only levels 4 and 6 could not be included for technical reasons. “To minimize interference with the building structure, we placed the station doors where windows used to be,” adds Voegtlin. And Bihlmaier nods with a smile:

Doors instead of windows. Photo: Matthias Hangst/Gettyimages

“We managed to replace 90 percent of the old openings in the façade with doors.” As the line of the doors on the façade had to be as slim as possible, INAUEN-SCHÄTTI implemented a tailor- made solution of station doors with a double-winged telescopic opening. “Even so, the doors remain wide enough for a wheelchair,” emphasizes Voegtlin. A total of 16 persons or 1,200 kilograms of load can be transported in the XL-cabin of the inclined elevator. The elevator, operating at a travelling speed of 1.4 meters per second, conquers an incline of 32.69 degrees and a height difference of 21.6 meters. The installation is operated as a regular vertical elevator. As Bihlmaier put it, its use is “free and easy” for the museum guests. INAUEN-SCHÄTTI has proved with this installation once again that it is able to implement modern transport solutions even at historical sites. ts

Pascal Voegtlin, Project Manager with INAUEN-SCHÄTTI

“The building’s cultural heritage monument status and the soil posed the greatest challenges. We used the openings of the former windows to build special telescopic doors and minimize interference with the structure. Moreover, due to a special kind of soil, the tracks are supported by pillars in the upper section and the technical room is unconventionally located at the foot of the installation.”

Elevator Junghans Terrassenbau

  • Load capacity 16 P./1.200 kg
  • Travelling speed 1,4 m/s
  • Height difference 21,61 m
  • Route length 40 m
  • Incline 32,69°
  • Number of stations 7 (left)