Third Tallest Skyscraper in the World!
Taipei 101, formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center, is an iconic skyscraper located in Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan.
The building was officially ranked as the world's tallest from its completion in 2004 until the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010. It stands majestically at a height of 508 m (1,667 ft). Taipei 101 stands as a symbol of modern Taiwan. It is a beautiful model of ancient motifs and symbolism coupled with modern techniques and materials.
Designing of Taipei 101
Taipei 101 was designed by C.Y. Lee & partners. The construction was primarily handled by KTRT Joint Venture. The owners of Taipei 101, the Taipei Financial Center Corporation (TFCC) decided to transfer the entire construction authority to Samsung C&T Corporation to expedite the process.
The magnificent design of Taipei 101 was inspired by traditional Chinese architecture to resemble a pagoda. The building design was also inspired by the bamboo plant, which stands as a symbol for strength, resilience, and elegance.
The Structure of Taipei 101
Taipei 101 comprises 101 floors above ground and five floors underground. The design specifications are based on the number "8", which is considered as an auspicious number in traditional Chinese culture; hence the tower has been provided eight upward-flaring sections that are supported by eight supercolumns.
The Oriental theme is further enhanced by the curled ruyi figures that appear throughout the structure as a design motif. The ruyi is an ancient symbol associated with heavenly clouds, and it reflects healing, protection and fulfillment.
Green Credentials of Taipei 101
Taipei 101 is not just a spectacular structure but also an environment-friendly one. It has been awarded the Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, which is a globally recognized green building ranking system of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), thus bestowing the skyscraper the credit of being the tallest eco-friendly building in the world.
The building achieved an annual saving of 14.4 million kWh of electricity, which is equivalent to NT$36 million. The national standard of CO2 level is set at 1,000 ppm; however, the design specification for the CO2 level in Taipei 101 is 600 ppm only.
Interior Design of Taipei 101
The architectural style of the interior areas is also based on Oriental revivalism.
The tower is serviced by 61 elevators and 50 escalators. Each elevator has an aerodynamic body, pressurization and emergency braking systems, and the world's first triple-stage anti-overshooting system. The elevator brakes are ceramic instead of the usual steel to provide greater efficiency (a feature that has been tested in high-performance cars). The elevator brakes have got to be of the best standards as these elevators are the fastest in the world, rising at 1010 m per minute (60.48 km/h) and descending at 610 m/min (36.6 km/h). No wonder each elevator costs a whopping $US 2 million plus.
Accommodation at Taipei 101
Taipei 101 is primarily designed for commercial offices. The 7th floor is occupied by the Taiwan Stock Exchange. Floor 101 houses a private VIP Club called Summit 101. There is an observatory restaurant at floors 85 and 86. Taipei 101 offers two decks - the 89th floor is allocated as the indoor observation area and the 91st floor is allocated as the outdoor observation deck. Both the observation areas offer 360° views and attract thousands of visitors from around the world. The indoor observatory is known to host a series of exhibitions on a regular basis. The tower also houses several other restaurants, parking spaces, shopping centers, and a club house.
Aesthetic Components of Taipei 101
At night, Taipei takes on a new look and resembles a candle or torch due to the bright yellow light emanating from its pinnacle. This goes to symbolize the ideals of liberty and welcome. Every evening from 6 to 10, the tower's lights display one of the seven colors in the spectrum.
Construction of the Taipei 101
Taipei 101 began taking shape in 1999 and was completed in 2004, and is said to have cost $1,760,000,000. The glass was supplied by Viracon, Inc., and the facade maintenance system supplier was CoxGomyl. The blue-green glass curtain walls, characteristic of Taipei 101, are double-paned and glazed, so as to provide heat and UV protection. The glass panes are not only sturdy but can also block external heat by 50%.
The spire of the tower contains two, 4.5-t tuned mass dampers so as to minimize wind-induced fatigue. Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers along with Evergreen Consulting Engineering designed a circular 660-t tuned mass damper that is contained within to counter seismic and wind-induced movement. This damper is the largest and heaviest of its type in the world, and is constructed from 41 steel plates. It is suspended from eight steel cables, and rests on eight viscous dampers. It is designed in such a manner that it can move 5ft laterally in any direction. Thus this skyscraper can withstand typhoon winds and earthquake tremors, which are common in the Asia-Pacific region.
The foundation has been reinforced using 380 piles driven 80 m (262 ft) into the ground, and extending as far as 30 m (98 ft) into the bedrock. Each pile measures 1.5 m (5 ft) in diameter and can bear a load of 1,000–1,320 t.
Interesting Facts about the Taipei 101
Taipei 101 was the world's first tallest building to be completed in the 21st century. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (an organization that certifies buildings as the "World’s Tallest") has accepted that the Taipei 101 still holds a couple of world records in the height categories - tallest to the structural top and tallest to the roof.
The New Year's Eve show in Taipei is hosted at the Taipei City Hall with grand fireworks display surrounding the Taipei 101. The 2012-2013 fireworks show was designed by a French pyrotechnics company called Groupe F. It featured 22,000 rockets launched to the symphony of Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird.
The Taipei 101 is one of the most stable buildings in the world. Many design specifications, layout and planning of the Taipei 101 were reviewed and approved by a Feng Shui master.
Taipei 101 outbeats the Petronas Towers measuring 451.9 m (1,483 ft) to become the tallest in the world in 2004 . Taipei 101’s record in turn was beaten by the Burj Khalifa measuring 829.8 m (2,722 ft) in 2010 .