What is the coolest attraction in Taipei City? Without a doubt it’s Taipei 101 tower. This tower was the world’s tallest building for six years until 2009 when it was surpassed by the Burj Khalifa tower. At 1,670 feet tall, the tower is the second tallest building in the world and is a Taiwanese treasure.
The Tower currently held many records including highest occupied floor, fastest elevator speed, tallest sundial, and largest countdown New Years Eve clock among others. Construction on the tower began in 1999 and was completed in 2004. Its 101 floors give it its name which is associated with perfection. The interior contains two restaurants on the 85th floor. The tower also contains a multi story mall with many retail stores, restaurants, clubs, and attractions. The 101st floor is home to a private and exclusive VIP club that is invite only.
Taipei 101 was designed to withstand typhoon winds as well as earthquakes. It can withstand gale winds of 134 mph and the strongest earthquakes for the next 2,500 years. The design of the tower is also structurally resistant to prevent damage and offer comfort to its occupants by protection of glass, curtain walls, and other features.
The tower is one of the most stable buildings ever built. The foundation is reinforced by 380 piles driven 262 feet into the ground and extending 98 feet into bedrock. During construction, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Taipei, there was no structural damage to the building which is quite an impressive feat for a building only 660 feet away from a major fault line. To offset movements in the building caused strong wind gusts, a 728 ton steel pendulum was constructed to act as a tuned mass damper. The sphere of the damper is the largest in the world.
The blue-green glass curtain walls of Taipei 101 are double paned and glazed to offer heat and UV protection. This facade is made from glass and aluminum panels and along with the tinted green glass windows were meant to give the tower the look of a bamboo shoot. The roof and facade recycled water system provides up to 30% of the building’s water needs, making it a green building. In 2011, the tower was officially certified “the world’s tallest green building” under LEED standards.
The repeated segments of the tower represent an Asian pagoda which is meant to link earth and sky, this is seen in the Petronas Towers of Malaysia. The look of bamboo symbolizes learning and growth, and the segments also represent ancient Chinese money boxes that represent abundance. Throughout the structure there also appears curled ruyi figures. The ruyi talisman represents healing, fulfillment, and protection. Feng shui philosophy is also apparent throughout the tower which is meant to bring a flow of positive energy. Water elements throughout the tower are meant to redirect negative energy from the tower.
Taipei 101 boasts a four floor observation deck, with the 91st floor being completely outdoors and open to the public when conditions are stable. Visit this brilliant beacon next time you are in Taiwan and experience seeing the world below while amongst the clouds!