2022 Project Of The Year - Ascent One Vanderbilt

December 17, 2021


New York, New York. - Liberty Elevator Corporation and their partners were recognized for the 2022 PROJECT OF THE YEAR awarded by Elevator World Publications for installing the Ascent elevators at Summit-One Vanderbilt in Midtown Manhattan. The International partnership of vertical transportation experts incorporated cutting edge technologies & world class craftmanship to deliver the world’s premier elevator experience.



New York City is home to over 80,000 elevators, but none expand your horizons quite like ASCENT. Located - One Thousand Eighty-Four Feet above midtown Manhattan, atop One Vanderbilt, dual glass elevators scale the walls of the new SUMMIT observation deck. The glass floored elevators deliver an immersive experience for the brave at heart, with amazing views of the skyline and the city below as you climb the exterior of one of NYC’s tallest buildings.   

Reaching the Summit

SUMMIT is touted as New York’s most transformational experience with its’ external glass elevators known as ASCENT, offering a thrilling one-of-a-kind perspective of the city from One Vanderbilt’s highest elevation. The Summit experience includes:

• Ascent - the world’s largest exterior glass-floor elevators that travel to the highest panoramic viewing point in midtown Manhattan.

• Levitation - two glass ledges suspended 1,063 feet above Madison Avenue with views of New York City below your feet.

• Après - a culinary experience where you can enjoy food and cocktails indoors or outside at the "highest urban alpine meadow in the Western hemisphere."

Each of the attractions form part of the 65,000-square-foot entertainment area and observation deck located at the peak of One Vanderbilt, a $3.3 billion development designed by architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. Located at the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue in midtown Manhattan, One Vanderbilt is the fourth tallest building in New York City, standing 1,401 feet high. The full Summit experience opens to the public on October 21, 2021.


Elevated Technology

The mission of Ascent was to expand the horizons of what an elevator experience could be. The elevators perform as one of the main attractions for Summit One Vanderbilt yet fits seamlessly alongside Levitation, Après and the art installations it shares space with. The feeling of floating on air as you elevate between the Chrysler and Empire State buildings in midtown Manhattan, gives Summit an experiential advantage over any other observation platform on the New York City skyline. Behind the breath-taking views and striking architecture of Summit lie two of the most unique and technologically advanced elevators in the world.

Ascent is as much a technical marvel as it is an experience. The elevators were manufactured by Cimolai Technology as a pair of 748 cubic foot cabs made of glass and steel. The transparent floor allows for breathtaking views of the city over 1000’ below your feet while the glass walls allow a 180* view of the New York City skyline.  The elevators ascend 120 feet up a steel track that climbs the exterior glass wall of the Skyscraper, from 1,084’ at the Après outdoor alpine meadow to the highest vantage point on 1 Vanderbilt at 1,219’.  The custom steel track engages the six, 20hp, 3-phase Cimolai motors that are mounted above the cab in the rack and pinion system, guiding each 50,000 lb. elevator at 83 feet per minute.  

Wireless Operations

All communications with the elevators are performed ‘virtually’ without any travel cables connecting the cabs with the controls.  The Siemen’s Profinet communication system transfers real time data over an Ethernet connection, allowing for all elevator operations to be observed and managed outside of a traditional hardwired control panel.  Due to their unique wireless communication system, these cutting-edge elevators are able to incorporate a custom handheld controller that allows the operator to remotely control each lift independently without being present in the cab or at the call station. 

In addition to the virtual communication system, the power for the elevator is drawn wirelessly from the 480V and 120V busbars that accompany the rack along the exterior South face of Summit. The electrical current is transferred from the bus bars via brushes on the cab, to fully power all the elevators’ operations.

By incorporating virtual controls, Ethernet communication and drawing its power from the busbars, we removed the need for any external cables to operate the elevators, making them a truly wireless system.


Rising to the Challenge

When installing glass elevators one thousand feet above Manhattan on the outside of a skyscraper, you better have a world class team of mechanics with ice in their veins.  Spending more than two years on site and tied-off to one of New York City’s highest super structures, the Liberty Elevator team worked tirelessly to install two of the most high-profile elevators under the most extreme conditions.  

Getting the machines into place was a challenge, with the majority of the larger pieces, such as the thirty-foot-long rack segments that weighed in at 16,700 lbs. needing to be hoisted via high rise crane and fixed into place while still suspended in the wind one thousand feet above Madison Ave. The Liberty Elevator team of Darren Muttart, Domenick Salvatore, Charlie Gremboweic, Cole Franks & Mike Prahach worked diligently with Tishman Construction and Kuritzky Glass Co. to get this project off the ground and completed for the October 21, 2021 grand opening.

Elevator Technical Specifications

• Elevator Quantity:  2

• Type:  Rack & Pinion

• Capacity/Structural:  10,000 lbs.

• Capacity/Operational:  15 Passengers

 Car Speed:  83 FPM

• Travel:  120’

• Landings:  58th Floor – 65th Floor

• Openings Front:  58th Floor

• Motor Control:  2x VFD AC Drives

• Operation:  Simplex

• Cab Interior Space:  12’-9” x 7’ (88 Sq. Ft.) x 8’-6” Height

Elevator Machines & Controllers

• Car Door Operator:  Wittur

• Rack & Pinion System:  Custom Rack, 10 Rollers

• Drive System:  6x 20HP 480VAC 3-Phase Gearmotors

• Controller System:  Cimolai Technology

• Data Network:  Siemens Wireless Profisafe


• OwnerSL Green

• Developer / Advisor:  Hines 

• ArchitectKohn Pedersen & Fox Associates

• Structural EngineerThornton Tomasetti

• Architect Consultant Vidaris, Inc.

• General ContractorTishman Construction Corporation

• Elevator ConsultantVDA (Van Deusen & Associates)

• Elevator ContractorLiberty Elevator Corporation

• Elevator ManufacturerCimolai Technology Spa - Reference Article

Cab & Door ManufacturerWittur Group


Recognized throughout the industry as one of the best independent family-owned contractors in the elevator industry, Liberty Elevator Corporation continues to push the horizon of what is possible in vertical transportation. As previous winners of Project of the Year, in 2014 for their installations at the Statue of Liberty and again in 2020 for installing the unique elevator at the Vessel in Hudson Yards, Liberty Elevator has differentiated themselves by taking on projects that require a unique and creative approach.

Founded in 1960 as National Elevator, Liberty was born after the historic elevator installation at the Statue of Liberty in 1986. In 2018 and again in 2021, Liberty Elevator Corporation won the Ellie for the Best Family-Owned Business in the elevator industry by Elevator World. Headed by third generation owners, Douglas and Darren Muttart, Liberty Elevator has expanded its maintenance, installation & modernization reach to include New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and South Florida.

Douglas J. Muttart, President of Liberty Elevator Corporation, reflected on his family's long-standing reputation in the elevator industry: "Liberty Elevator has continued to grow despite uncertain economic times, due in part to the strong foundations we have built and an amazing team of dedicated employees. The Liberty family shares the same ideals and work ethic with those embodied by my grandfather who started the business over 60 years ago, an unwavering commitment to quality and honesty that has sustained Liberty Elevator through three generations."

Media Inquiries

Please direct any media inquiries to Dru Brooks, Director of Marketing at dru@libertyelevator.com or submit your project proposal through the online form. Link to article.

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