What It Is
  Click here to read About SkyWalk's Inventors

…an architectural “buddy system.” …‘outside the box’ thinking…

SkyWalk is an architectural “buddy system.” Its goal is to ensure rapid escape of large populations from a burning high rise building.  The concept was born as a result of a common sense analysis of the tragic entrapment of large numbers of people above the fire floors in the World Trade Center, by a person not involved in the design or construction of high rise buildings.  Hence, it is “outside the box” thinking.

  …enclosed, vertically spaced escape bridges, … between … companion buildings…

The system consists of a series of enclosed, vertically spaced escape bridges, approximately ten stories apart, between generally similar companion buildings, starting at about the tenth story and continuing to the roof.

In addition to accomplishing its primary purpose of saving lives and preventing injuries by providing means for rapid and complete evacuation of a burning tall building’s population, regardless of its height, SkyWalk enables a complete array of redundant, vital services to be immediately available, including smoke free elevators and stairways, electric power, water and communications.  Further, the presence of the bridges results in a host of other benefits.

  …reduction in the impediments to the work of the firefighter/rescuer responders…

One of the most notable of these is the reduction in the impediments to the work of the firefighter/rescuer responders in carrying out their duties, since there are clear stairways and elevators at the ready as soon as they arrive at the fire scene.

…guiding principle was … evacuation of the total maximum anticipated building population in fifteen minutes or less, after alarm….

As the SkyWalk concept was refined the guiding principle was to achieve evacuation of the total maximum anticipated building population in fifteen minutes or less, after alarm.  This target was based on the reality of the World Trade Center experience, so as to empty the building long before any collapse could occur.  Its method of getting people to safety very rapidly also eliminates much of the blockage to quick access of firefighters to the fire location, and shifts much of the time they would normally use for rescue activities to the fire-fighting and fire containment effort.

  Click here to read What SkyWalk Is  
Jerome Press, a supervisor at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, took early retirement after more than thirty years of service, a few years before September 11, 2001.  Had he not retired then, he would have been trapped in his office on the 86th floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower on that fateful day, just about on the bulls-eye for the first attacking aerial terrorist.  While pondering what he would have done if he had been in that horrific situation, he suddenly recognized the fundamental problem facing all occupants of high rise buildings: the only exit from stand-alone structures, regardless of the initiating cause of a fire, is through the building’s footprint at ground level.  At that moment, SkyWalk was born.  After making some conceptual sketches, he consulted with his brother, Irving, for engineering guidance.

Irving D. Press, Vice-President of Research, Technology, Development and Engineering, retired after more then forty-one years with Resistoflex Company, an advanced technology manufacturer of equipment for conveying and containing hazardous fluids.  Some of Irving’s 41 US patents concerned fire situations in aircraft and industrial buildings.  His inventive contribution to SkyWalk was a unique mechanism for the SkyBridge/building junction, which solved a seemingly intractable problem blocking the use of the SkyWalk concept at higher levels than the low level connecting corridors that are sometimes used for inter-building traffic.  As a result of this collaboration, one hundred years after the Wright brothers invented a means for man to fly high in the sky, the Press brothers invented a means for man to walk high in the sky.

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Last updated 12/31/03