Safer, more rapidly evacuable high-rise buildings
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A system for the construction of buildings are provided for buildings that are catastrophe-tolerant and able to withstand catastrophic destruction of a part of the structure without bringing the whole structure down. Further, the time needed for the buildings' occupants to safely evacuate it in times of disaster is minimized with this system.

Hoppenstein, Reuben (New Rochelle, NY, US)
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E04H1/04; E04H1/06; (IPC1-7): E01F9/00
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What is claimed is:

1. A system of rapid evacuation for a building structure's occupants, comprising: at least two bridges that allows rapid transit between buildings, said bridges each not spaced more than ten floors apart vertically.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein: said bridges being detachable from the buildings, such that the bridges will not pull another building down if one building collapses.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein said at least two bridges are staggered so that any occupant would not need to go up or down more than ten to fifteen floors to safety.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein: the buildings are arranged in a ring arrangement interconnected with detachable bridges.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein: the bridges are staggered on different levels on opposite sides of the building.

6. A system of rapid evacuation for a building structure's occupants, comprising: a horizontally integrated building escape system that will utilize adjacent building's elevators or stairwell system using bridges.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein: said system is retrofitted to adjacent buildings that are pre-existing.



[0001] This application claims the filing date of U.S. provisional application No. 60/345,097, filed Nov. 9, 2001.


[0002] The complete destruction of the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York and its resultant loss of thousands of lives because of inadequate means of escape prompted this invention. Another result of this disaster is the new fear of living or working in high-rise buildings.

[0003] What has been learned from this tragedy is that in order for new high-rise buildings to be successful, they must be safer by having alternate means of rapid evacuation. An entire building, even up to 100 stories, can be evacuated in under fifteen minutes with the proposed system.

[0004] In present day buildings evacuation, whether due to fire or a terrorist attack, are difficult because elevators become a major hazard and also become inoperable. The stairwells also act as a hindrance to rapid evacuation and, as in the case of the destroyed buildings, evacuation may take as long as 45 to 60 minutes.

[0005] It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide buildings that are catastrophe-tolerant, able to withstand catastrophic destruction of a part of the structure without bringing the whole structure down.

[0006] It is another object of the invention to provide buildings that can minimize the time needed for the occupants to safely evacuate it in times of disaster.


[0007] FIGS. 1 and 2 show an aerial view of possible configurations of buildings and bridges (7).

[0008] FIG. 3 shows the anchorage (8) of the bridges (7) to two adjacent towers. It also demonstrates that the attachment is a free sliding piston that will disconnect if one tower collapses.


[0009] FIG. 4 shows interconnecting bridges, staggered on alternate sides.

[0010] This system is dependent on at least two towers or more being constructed together with interconnecting bridges at regular intervals say every ten floors. An ideal system would be three or more towers in a circle (FIGS. 1 and 2).

[0011] The bridges must be lightweight, capable of supporting 100 people at a time, and self-detachable so if one tower collapses it will not pull down the second and third towers Also, for wind and seismic movements, they must have the ability to compensate for these movements, as well as compensate for contraction and expansion.

[0012] In FIG. 3, we demonstrate a piston support within a building (8 and 9), which can move horizontally within its shaft for expansion and contraction, as well as seismic events. If building 8 collapses, the bridges will disengage and will not pull down the adjacent tower.

[0013] In FIG. 4, we show a staggered arrangement of bridges. On one side, the bridges could, for example, be every ten floors (i.e., 10, 20 30 . . . etc.), while on the opposite side the bridges would also be spaced every 10 floors, but would start at a different floor (i e, 5, 15, 25, 35 . . . etc.). The arrangement could vary according-to the number of people to be evacuated.

[0014] The idea is that nobody would have to go up or down more than five to ten floors to escape into the adjacent building. Fire drills would alert people to the best exit for them The elevators in the adjacent building would be functioning to bring people to ground level.

[0015] This system can also be adapted to existing, buildings, side-by-side, or on opposite sides of the street.

[0016] In the event that building number I in FIG. 2 was endangered, people could exit to buildings number 2 and number 6. If traffic was particularly heavy in these two buildings, they could decent to elevators in buildings number 3 and number 5.

[0017] Although the present invention and its advantages have been described in the foregoing detailed description and illustrated in the accompanying drawings, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the invention is not limited to the embodiment(s) disclosed but is capable of numerous rearrangements, substitutions and modifications without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.