Circulation System

Commercial Interior Space Designing-II 4(1+3)

Lesson 8:Specialised Facilities for commercial buildings

Circulation System

In any building, circulation refers to the way people move through and interact with a building. In public buildings, circulation is of high importance; for example, in buildings such as museums, it is key to have a floor plan that allows continuous movement while minimizing the necessity to retrace one's steps, allowing a visitor to see each work in a sequential, natural fashion.

  1. Interior courtyards; atriums;
  2. Interior corridors
  3. Elevator shafts;
  4. Stair wells
  5. Equipment/mechanical rooms
  6. Basements proposed for medical records, storage, or other similar purposes
  7. Restrooms
  8. Interior and exterior corridors, hallways or balconies;
  9. Other areas as determined by the administrative committee to be unusable floor area for the intended occupancy

Structures such as elevators, escalators, and staircases are often referred to as circulation elements, as they are positioned and designed to optimize the flow of people through a building.

Central Courtyard and Atrium



Elevator: An elevator (or lift) is vertical transport equipment that efficiently moves people or goods between floors (levels, decks) of a building, vessel or other structure. Elevators are generally powered by electric motors that either drive traction cables and counterweight systems, or pump hydraulic fluid to raise a cylindrical piston. Because of wheelchair access laws, elevators are often a legal requirement in new multi-story buildings, especially where wheelchair ramps would be impractical.

  • Passenger elevator: It is designed to move people between a building's floors. Passenger elevators capacity is related to the available floor space. Generally passenger elevators are available in capacities from 1,000 to 6,000 pounds (450–2,700 kg) in 500 lb (230 kg) increments. Wheelchair, or platform lifts, a specialized type of elevator designed to move a wheelchair 6 ft (1.8 m) or less, often can accommodate just one person in a wheelchair at a time with a load of 1000 lb (450 kg. .Generally passenger elevators in buildings eight floors or less are hydraulic or electric, which can reach speeds up to 200 ft/min (1.0 m/s) hydraulic and up to 500 ft/min electric. In buildings up to ten floors, electric and gearless elevators are likely to have speeds up to 500 ft/min (2.5 m/s), and above ten floors speeds begin at 500 ft/min (2.5 m/s) up to 2000 ft/min (10 m/s).
  • An express elevator does not serve all floors. For example, it moves between the ground floor and a sky lobby, or it moves from the ground floor or a sky lobby to a range of floors, skipping floors in between. These are especially popular in eastern Asia.
  • Freight elevators :A freight elevator, or goods lift, is an elevator designed to carry goods, rather than passengers. Freight elevators are generally required to display a written notice in the car that the use by passengers is prohibited (though not necessarily illegal), though certain freight elevators allow dual use through the use of an inconspicuous riser. Freight elevators are typically larger and capable of carrying heavier loads than a passenger elevator, generally from 2,300 to 4,500 kg. Freight elevators may have manually operated doors, and often have rugged interior finishes to prevent damage while loading and unloading. Although hydraulic freight elevators exist, electric elevators are more energy efficient for the work of freight lifting.
  • Stage lifts : Stage and orchestra lifts are specialized lifts, typically powered by hydraulics, that are used to lift entire sections of a theater stage. For example, Radio City Music Hall has four such lifts, an "orchestra lift" that covers a large area of the stage, and three smaller lifts near the rear of the stage. In this case, the orchestra lift is powerful enough to raise an entire orchestra, or an entire cast of performers (including live elephants) up to stage level from below.
  • Vehicle elevators: Vehicular elevators are used within buildings or areas with limited space (in lieu of ramps), typically to move cars into the parking garage or manufacturer's storage. Geared hydraulic chains (not unlike bicycle chains) generate lift for the platform and there are no counterweights. To accommodate building designs and improve accessibility, the platform may rotate so that the driver only has to drive forward. Most vehicle elevators have a weight capacity of 2 tons.

Last modified: Monday, 2 July 2012, 10:13 AM