Benidorm skyscraper built
without an elevator

| 44 comments

Intempo tower blunder sees Benidorm skyscraper built without a working lift

News: the builders behind this two-tower 47-storey skyscraper in Benidorm, Spain, have forgotten to include a working lift. Update 20/08/13: the developer has told Dezeen that media reports were incorrect and the tower does include elevators.

Spanish national newspaper El Pais has reported that one of Europe's tallest residential skyscrapers, the 200 metre-tall Intempo tower in Alicante, has been built without a working elevator above the 20th floor.

Designed by Spanish architects Roberto Perez Guerras, the skyscraper features two symmetrical towers that are joined at the top with an inverted cone-shaped structure.

It was originally designed with 20 storeys, but developers later decided to extend it to 47 storeys - offering 269 homes. However they neglected to allow the extra room required by a lift ascending over twice as far.

This news comes as a further embarrassing blunder for the architects and construction team - following countless problems experienced during the project.

The project suffered its first setback in 2009, when the construction company involved went into liquidation. Later, an elevator fell with 13 people trapped inside and ambulances were unable to reach the site because vehicle access had been removed to save costs.

In 2008, the architects described the project on its company website as "a symbol of a new architectural philosophy". The company said: "its features of comfort, design and elegance set a standard for the future of architecture and the city of Benidorm".

"A majestic building, that will mark a before and after in architecture and town-planning in Spain," said the architects.

The architects have since resigned from the project. The Intempo Tower is due for completion in December 2013, although it remains unclear how the missing elevator will be resolved.

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  • Desk

    LOL. Let’s see now, cheap developer hires cheap contractor after hiring inexperienced architect and engineering team, who has no clue about current lift constraints. Developer tries to maximise profits by more than doubling height. It is a wonder it is even standing up.

    New architectural philosophy indeed.

    • WestVanMan

      So what’s the big deal? Piggy back another 20 storey elevator system on top of the existing ones so that the elevator hoistway can be the same size.

      Sure, allowing for a pit and overrun means you get off at the 20th floor, walk up to the 22nd floor (“sky lobby”) and resume your ascent in another elevator. If this baby can’t get to the top few floors, those guys will have to hike up to what would probably be a multi floor penthouse suite anyway. But as someone remarked, if they left out this component of the building, what else did they forget?

      • Adam

        You don’t get it. The floors are probably already in place and it’s an astronomical cost to cut a hole in them, and it will weaken the structure of the floor. The problem is that they have already built the 20+ floors already above the existing elevator. There’s simply no way to put one in now.

  • Tek4

    LMAO! Sheer brilliance, really.

  • Mark

    I see a real nice gap in between the buildings, perfect for a set of elevators!

    • Desk

      Or escalators!

  • RJM

    Hideous AND silly. As the builders were going from floor 20 up to floor 47, did NO ONE say: “Hey guys, does anyone notice something missing here?! LOOK at us, we can put floor upon floor! Oh wait, how do we get up there?!”

    On a related note, the area certainly does NOT look overbuilt!

    • http://twitter.com/imesp @imesp

      I think the story is that the floors all have the same foot print and elevator shaft continues all the way up, but the opening is of a size and shape to accommodate a less powerful elevator system – one that would have served a 20 storey structure just fine.

  • zizi

    That's how Le Corbusier's dream has turned into a nightmare.

  • haha

    I was expecting some crazy different sort of lift mechanism that would be innovative and possibly even green, but nope, they simply forgot to put one in.

  • dubba

    I had to think whether today was April 1st. This is brilliantly laughable.

  • jerzy

    I bet the top floor residents will be quite fit.

  • Prole

    A fitting monument to the failed ideology of neoliberalism.

  • Rob

    Well, I know of a recently delivered 65-unit apartment complex, designed by a well known Dutch architecture office, that has only one elevator for the entire complex.

    On top of that, the complex wasn’t accessible to wheelchairs at first, because – wait for it – they had forgotten an elevator access at ground floor! (it’s split-level). The entrance zone had to be altered in order to make room for a platform elevator to overcome the difference in floor height.

  • http://twitter.com/Quinzark @Quinzark

    It would have looked nicer if the join was lower down or if the building was the original height. That aside, how do you forget to add a lift to the design of a giant tower?

  • JrZ

    Sounds like the architects were cut out of the decision to increase the building height. Who engineered the loads for the additional floors? Where were the regulators who would be reviewing the significant scope changes?!

    Sounds like the system is broken in Spain more than it was the incompetence of the architect. It takes a village…

    • Desk

      Nope, all 47 storeys on their website. The decision to increase has been fully supported. If wiser, the architects would disassociate themselves from the project at the point of decision.

  • Zip

    Is there anything else they have forgotten? Like rebars? Wouldn’t dare to stay there.

  • Luca

    Perfect set for J.G. Ballard’s “High Rise”, maybe?

  • Tim

    What has the local Council said to the client when they started to exceed the permission?

    Can’t really understand how the Spanish system works. Saw lots of example like this in China over all, but China is a exclusive political system at the most. Can’t really imagine.

    Journalism should go deeper into this if it were worthy to the profession, IMHO, as this should is very relevant to any architect’s role at it’s best. But for sure few will even repot this though.

  • http://twitter.com/devans00 @devans00

    Forget the future residents. How will things like furniture, large appliances, plumbing, fire departments or other maintenance type services easily get to floors 21-47? Any medical emergencies can forget getting help.

    I’m sure the folks who worked on constructing those floors spoke up but were told to shut up and mind their own business.

  • nor'easter

    Privatise and deregulate until there’s no oversight and a disastrous lack of accountability. All the money they “saved.”

    Besides the obvious failings, look what it does for the skyline. How much money, time and resources has been wasted on this thing already? Perhaps the best that can be hoped for now is that they tear this “new architectural philosophy” down?

  • Em. C.

    Funny, Treehugger claims they do have them you just have to wait half the day for one. Which is right?

  • SDK

    Seems like this story is a bust – the building does has a full elevator core in each tower to full height, however the problem is that they are not properly sized for the added storeys to take into account travel time and increased number of residents.

    This is certainly a big fiasco for us architects to talk about, but hardly worthy of international headlines.
    http://www.treehugger.com/urban-design/building-a

    • http://twitter.com/imesp @imesp

      I agree about the elevator shaft but not your conclusion. People need to know about this story and think about it. And the Spaniards need to know people around the world are scratching their heads.

    • Concerned citizen

      You are playing semantics. Look it up. An elevator core does not qualify as an elevator.

  • Rob Walker

    I think this article is factually incorrect. I can clearly see a yellow painted lift on the outside of the building! ;-)

    • Jalan Bangkung

      I think what you think you saw is actually the construction crane.

  • Nobody2

    Someone left a pair of trousers in the middle of the skyline.

  • megan

    Forced exercising and preventing disabled tenants in one fell swoop. Stairways only unintended genius and bigotry mash up. Plus the rent will be unaffordable or it’ll be filled with desperate immigrants willing to live in unsafe high rise housing like places in Brazil. People walk up 20+ floors with water and supplies/groceries, but thank god because criminals are too lazy to go up that far.

  • gunarj

    I think the title of this article sensationalises the issue. If you read the original El Pais article (in google translate) it sounds like the problem is that they did not adapt the size of the elevator room to the new requirements, so it’s not large enough to house the larger machines and equipment necessary for an elevator servicing 47 instead of 20 stories. They did not actually forget the elevator on floors 21-47.

    • Concerned citizen

      So, exactly where are the elevators?

  • Peteinnewzealand

    If you read a translation of the original article it doesn’t actually focus on there being no elevator about the 20th floor. The article is more about the financial mess it created.

    They mention the lift shaft not being designed for more than 20 floors but not that there is ONLY an elevator for the first 20 floors. And the architects resigned more because they were blamed for the workers refusing to come to work over incompetencies and salary issues: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&s

  • Tachybaptus

    ‘This week we like: architecture in Spain.’ Not sure I do.

    • Silvia

      Spanish architecture is recognised as one of the best. For sure, not in Benidorm. This is a fake history! What I really like is the people that believe this kind of news…

  • http://archiom.ru mike

    Strange story full of conspiracy. The elevator has 45 buttons. Maybe fake photos? http://devacacionesypuentes.com/2013/04/30/in-tem

  • Floong

    Yep… this is a hoax. Someone rode an elevator all the way to the top. http://bit.ly/14w0gWa

  • rob

    Please Dezeen, can you just publish some f***ing plans to show the gross errors committed here.

  • Veron

    Besides these “lift” issues, which I’m not going to express any opinion on as I don’t know what is true, I just returned from a holiday in Benidorm.

    Taking into account the surrounding landscape, this building is one the worst designs I have ever seen. I know Benidorm has suffered architecture far removed from traditional Spanish architecture for years, but this monster gave me a feeling of being watched. It’s like Big Brother is watching you.

    George Orwell might have liked it for 1984´s setting. Throughout the whole holiday we were making fun of it without being aware of the forgotten lift, which is a pity – it’s great inspiration for jokes. Definitely not for new philosophy though.

  • Carlos

    Please, I didn’t expect this news on this website. I considered Dezeen as serious but now I see it’s not. You cannot just publish one bit of news from “El Pais” just like that. If Dezeen, as many others have, researched on the Internet, it could see that it’s not true.

    Although this article <a href="http:// (http://www.microsiervos.com/archivo/leyendas-urbanas/rascacielos-intempo-benidorm-sin-ascensores.html)” target=”_blank”> <a href="http://(http://www.microsiervos.com/archivo/leyendas-urbanas/rascacielos-intempo-benidorm-sin-ascensores.html)” target=”_blank”>(http://www.microsiervos.com/archivo/leyendas-urbanas/rascacielos-intempo-benidorm-sin-ascensores.html) is in Spanish, you can see there is a picture of the elevator with 45 floors.

    I’m really upset.

  • Greg

    Amateurs! There is a reason some people should be farmers or something else and stay out of architecture and design.

  • Pierpaolo

    Overnight fame for unknown Spanish architect Roberto Perez Guerras! LOL

  • https://www.facebook.com/whytoocold Koh Wei Kiang
  • J.m

    We have just come back from Benidorm discussing this skyscraper. Did the architect not know the female anatomy as it looks like a lady’s legs with the sweet spot in middle. We started a nickname game – came up with the Golden Minge, the Big Mama, the Golden Flange. Clunge Towers, Hotel Minger etc.