Kinetic Architecture – Skyview Tower

Skyview Tower is a kinetic architecture attraction and promotional centrepiece that carries passengers skywards for stunning views. Three drive carriages situated within the towers hoist the gondola to the top, giving the illusion of a floating balloon.

The Challenge

Skyview Tower combines a public attraction and a promotional vehicle into a kinetic architecture landmark. The tower gives thrilling 360° views of its surroundings and is targeted at major cities and venues. It also generates revenue through passenger ride tickets, advertising and retail.

Skyview Tower’s challenge was to bring together innovative partners to fulfil the various disciplines required to make the concept a reality: structural engineering; mechanical engineering; promotional envelope design; passenger gondola design; installation and operation.

The Solution

SCX Special Projects is the mechanical engineering piece of the Skyview Tower jigsaw. We designed and engineered the unique hoisting system that safely, reliably and repeatedly takes passengers – and advertising promotions – 90 metres up and down the tower.

SCX’s engineering innovations include a modular construction approach and a unique counterbalanced hoist for increased efficiency, while also smoothing the ride. The hoist design has already received TUV approval for the safe carriage of passengers.

Engineering innovation

  • SCX’s innovative design integrates three drive carriages into the tower, one inside each tapered column, running vertically on helical rack and pinion rails
  • Multiple wire ropes connect the drive carriages to the gondola’s support structure, via the top of the tower, attaching to extra-long guide trolleys to minimise skew
  • Together, the three drive carriages provide a 12-tonne SWL, giving a maximum capacity of 40 passengers


Multi-use commercial model

  • The gondola’s support structure (which also includes compensation mechanisms for wind loading) is enclosed by an air-inflated envelope, giving the illusion of a floating balloon
  • The balloon can be branded with printed or LED advertising, while the gondola serves multiple purposes from leisure to education to business
  • A passenger boarding mezzanine can be integrated into the structure, creating new commercial opportunities such as catering and retail


Safe, reliable, repeatable

  • Designed by SCX’s in-house TUV-certified engineers, the hoist has redundancy and duplication throughout – no single point of failure can prevent safe recovery of the gondola
  • A unique reeved counterweight arrangement offsets the load while also reducing drive travel by half, increasing efficiency and reducing wear
  • The system can run constantly, with minimal maintenance, operated from a GUI panel with overload protection, soft start and emergency stop circuits


Let's talk more about kinetic architecture

We make the architect's vision of moving structures a reality. SCX's engineering expertise can translate even the most unique and ground-breaking ideas into safe, reliable kinetic architecture solutions.

We have decades of experience in creating moving structures. Talk to us today.

Call us on +44 114 262 6199, email us at, or complete the contact form below and we'll be in touch.

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SCX Special Projects Ltd

Roman Ridge Road, Sheffield, S9 1GA, United Kingdom

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199