Taipei 101

Taipei 101 (POJ: Tai-pak yat-leng-yat) is a 101-floor landmark skyscraper located in Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan. The building, designed by C.Y. Lee & partners and constructed primarily by KTRT Joint Venture and Samsung Engineering & Construction, is the world's tallest completed skyscraper according to the CTBUH - the arbiter of tall building height. Taipei 101 received the Emporis Skyscraper Award in 2004. It has been hailed as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World (Newsweek magazine, 2006) and Seven Wonders of Engineering (Discovery Channel, 2005).

The building contains 101 floors above ground and 5 floors underground. Its postmodern style combines both Asian and international modern and traditional elements. Its safety features enable it to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. A multi-level shopping mall adjoining the tower houses hundreds of fashionable stores, restaurants and clubs. Fireworks launched from Taipei 101 feature prominently in international New Year's Eve broadcasts, and the landmark appears frequently in films, television shows, print publications, anime media, games, and other elements of popular culture.

The name of the tower reflects its location in Taipei's international business district (101 mailing code) as well as its floor count. (See also "Symbolism" below.) The number is pronounced in English simply as One Oh One and in Mandarin and other local languages by the equivalent.

Taipei 101 is owned by the Taipei Financial Center Corporation and managed by the International division of Urban Retail Properties Corporation based in Chicago. The name originally planned for the building, Taipei World Financial Center, was derived from the name of the owner. The original name in Chinese was literally, Taipei International Financial Center ().

Taipei 101 was overtaken in height on July 21 2007 by the Burj Dubai in Dubai, UAE, upon the completion of that building's 141st floor. The title of "world's tallest building" still rests with Taipei 101, though, as international architectural standards define a "building" as a structure capable of being fully occupied. The Burj Dubai is on course to claim the title once its construction is finished, expected in September 2009.



Taipei 101 has 101 stories above ground and five underground. Upon its completion Taipei 101 claimed the official records for:

The record for greatest height from ground to pinnacle remains with the Sears Tower in Chicago (USA): .

Taipei 101 was the first building in the world to break the half-kilometer mark in height. It was the first "world's tallest building" to be constructed in the new millennium.

Taipei 101 displaced the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as the tallest building in the world by . It also displaced the 85-story, Tuntex Sky Tower in Kaohsiung as the tallest building in Taiwan and the 51-story, Shin Kong Life Tower as the tallest building in Taipei.

The Burj Dubai, located in Dubai, UAE, overtook Taipei 101 in height upon completion of its 141st floor on July 7, 2007. The Burj Dubai is expected to hold a number of world records by the time it opens in mid-2009. Taipei 101 retains its official title until the Burj Dubai is completed, however, as the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat does not officially recognize a structure as a "building" for record purposes until it is functional--that is, until it is completed and can be occupied.

Various sources, including the building's owners, give the height of Taipei 101 as , roof height and top floor height as and . This lower figure is derived by measuring from the top of a platform at the base. CTBUH standards, though, include the height of the platform in calculating the overall height, as it represents part of the man-made structure and is above the level of the surrounding pavement.


Taipei 101 is designed to withstand the typhoon winds and earthquake tremors common in its area of the Asia-Pacific. Planners aimed for a structure that could withstand gale winds of per second (216 km/h, 134 mi/h) and the strongest earthquakes likely to occur in a 2,500 year cycle.

Skyscrapers must be flexible in strong winds yet remain rigid enough to prevent large sideways movement (lateral drift). Flexibility prevents structural damage while resistance ensures comfort for the occupants and protection of glass, curtain walls and other features. Most designs achieve the necessary strength by enlarging critical structural elements such as bracing. The extraordinary height of Taipei 101 combined with the demands of its environment called for additional innovations on the part of engineers.

The design achieves both strength and flexibility for the tower through the use of high-performance steel construction. Thirty-six columns support Taipei 101, including eight "mega-columns" packed with 10,000-psi concrete. Every eight floors, outrigger trusses connect the columns in the building’s core to those on the exterior.

These features combine with the solidity of its foundation to make Taipei 101 one of the most stable buildings ever constructed. The foundation is reinforced by 380 piles driven into the ground, extending as far as into the bedrock. Each pile is in diameter and can bear a load of - . The stability of the design became evident during construction when, on March 31 2002, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Taipei. The tremor was strong enough to topple two construction cranes from the 56th floor, then the highest, and killed five people in the accident. An inspection afterwards showed no structural damage to the building and construction soon resumed.

Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers along with Evergreen Consulting Engineering designed a steel pendulum that serves as a tuned mass damper, at a cost of NT$132 million (US$4 million). Suspended from the 92nd to the 88th floor, the pendulum sways to offset movements in the building caused by strong gusts. Its sphere, the largest damper sphere in the world, consists of 41 circular steel plates, each with a height of being welded together to form a diameter sphere. Another two tuned mass dampers, each weighing , sit at the tip of the spire. These prevent damage to the structure due to strong wind loads.

Taipei 101's characteristic blue-green glass curtain walls are double glazed, offer heat and UV protection, and can sustain impacts of .


Taipei 101, like all spire structures, participates in the symbolism of the axis mundi: a world center where earth and sky meet and the four compass directions join.

The height of 100484 floors commemorates the renewal of time: the new century that arrived as the tower was built (10048+1) and all the new years that follow (January 1 = 1-01). It symbolizes high ideals by going one better on 100, a traditional number of perfection. It represents the spot where the tower stands: 101 is the postal code of Taipei's international business district. The number also evokes the binary numeral system used in digital technology.

The main tower features a series of eight segments of eight floors each. In Chinese-speaking cultures the number eight is associated with abundance, prosperity and good fortune. In cultures that observe a seven-day week the number eight symbolizes a renewal of time (7+1). In digital technology the number eight is associated with the byte, the basic unit of information.

The repeated segments simultaneously recall the rhythms of an Asian pagoda (a tower linking earth and sky, also evoked in the Petronas Towers), a stalk of bamboo (an icon of learning and growth), and a stack of ancient Chinese ingots or money boxes (a symbol of abundance). The four discs mounted on each face of the building where the pedestal meets the tower represent coins. The emblem placed over entrances shows three gold coins of ancient design with central holes shaped to imply the Arabic numerals 1-0-1.

Curled ruyi figures appear throughout the structure as a design motif. The ruyi, is an ancient symbol associated with heavenly clouds. It connotes healing, protection and fulfilment. It appears in celebrations of the attainment of new career heights. Each ruyi ornament on the exterior of the Taipei 101 tower stands at least tall. The sweeping curved roof of the adjoining mall culminates in a colossal ruyi that shades pedestrians. Though the shape of each ruyi at Taipei 101 is traditional, its metallic interpretation is plainly modern.

At night the bright yellow gleam from its pinnacle casts Taipei 101 in the role of a candle or torch upholding the ideals of liberty and welcome. From 6:00 to 10:00 each evening the tower's lights display one of seven colours in the spectrum. The colours coincide with the days of the week:

Day Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

The cycle through the spectrum connects the tower with the rich symbolism of rainbows, traditionally seen as bridges linking earth to sky and earth's peoples to one another.

A further connection with time appears in an adjoining park, where a clock draws its energy entirely from the building's wind shear. The circular shape of the clock is echoed in the shape of the park itself. Taipei 101, like many of its neighbours, shows the influence of feng shui philosophy. An example appears at the intersection of Songlian Road and Hsinyi (Xinyi) Road, where a large fountain stands near the tower's east entrance. A ball at the top spins toward the tower. The fountain may be viewed as a work of public art. Its stone and liquid textures offer a contrast to the glass and metal of the building even as its horizontal ridges repeat the building's rhythms. Yet, in feng shui terms, the fountain serves a practical function, though, . A T intersection near the entrance of a building drains positive energy, or ch'i, from a building and its occupants. Flowing water placed at such a spot can remedy the situation by generating a positive inward flow of ch'i. At Taipei 101 a traditional predicament has been addressed with a traditional solution--yet the result looks modern.

Taipei 101 merges ancient motifs and ideas with modern techniques and materials. As a landmark it renews the symbolism of all tall towers as cosmic centers. Its interplaying symbols convey images of optimism, abundance, and awareness of the cycles of time.


Taipei 101 is the first record-setting skyscraper to be constructed in the twenty-first century. Appropriately it exhibits a number of technologically advanced features as it provides a center for business and recreation.

The original 2004 fiber-optic and satellite Internet connections enabled transfer speeds up to a gigabyte per second.

The doubledeck elevators built by Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation (TELC) set a new record in 2004 with top ascending speeds of per second (60.6 km/h, 37.7 mi/h). This speed is 34.7 percent faster than the previous record holders of the Yokohama Landmark Tower elevator, Yokohama, Japan, which speeds of per second (45.0 km/h, 28.0 mi/h). Taipei 101's elevators sweep visitors from the fifth floor to the 89th-floor observatory in only 37 seconds. Each elevator features an aerodynamic body, full pressurization, state-of-the art emergency braking systems, and the world's first triple-stage anti-overshooting system. The cost for each elevator is NT$80 million (US$2.4 million).

A tuned mass damper stabilizes the tower against movements caused by high winds. The damper can reduce up to 40% of the tower's movements (see "Construction").

The 101st floor is home to a private club named Summit 101. No information about this club has been made public save for a reference in the observatory pamphlet.

The observatories are located in the 91st and 89th floors. (See "Observatories" below.)

Two restaurants have opened on the 85th floor: Diamond Tony's, which offers European-style seafood and steak, and Shin Yeh 101 (欣葉), which offers Taiwanese-style cuisine. Occupying all of the 86th floor is Japanese restaurant XEX.

The multi-story retail mall adjoining the tower is home to hundreds of fashionable stores, restaurants, clubs and other attractions. The mall's interior is modern in design even as it makes use of traditional elements. The curled ruyi symbol (see "Exterior symbolism" above) is a recurring motif inside the mall. Many features of the interior also observe feng shui traditions.


Taipei 101 features an Indoor Observatory (89th floor) and an Outdoor Observatory (91st floor). Both offer 360-degree views and attract visitors from around the world.

  • The Indoor Observatory stands above ground and can be reached by the fastest elevator in the world (at 1010 meters per minute) from the shopping mall's 5th floor - it takes only 37 seconds to arrive at the 89th floor. It offers visitors a comfortable indoor environment, large windows with UV protection, recorded voice tours in eight languages, and informative displays and special exhibits. Here one may view the skyscraper's main damper, nicknamed "Damper Baby", and buy food, drinks and gift items.
  • The Outdoor Observatory stands above ground. It is the world's second highest outdoor observation deck.

Two more flights of staircase take visitors up to the Outdoor Observatory.

The Indoor Observatory is open twelve hours a day (10:00 AM-10:00 PM) throughout the week; the Outdoor Observatory is only open on special occasions and weather permitting. Tickets may be purchased on site in the shopping mall 5th floor, or in advance through the Observatory's web site (see "links" below). The tickets are priced at NT$400 (US$13) each, with it one can visit the 88th (tuned mass damper area), 89th and 91st floors altogether.


Many works of art appear in and around Taipei 101. These include:

  • Rebecca Horn (Germany). Dialogue between Yin and Yang. 2002. Steel, iron.
  • Robert Indiana (USA). Love and 1-0. 2002. Aluminum.
  • Ariel Moscovici (France). Between Earth and Sky. 2002. Rose de la claret granite.
  • Chung Pu (Taiwan). Global Circle. 2002. Black granite, white marble.
  • Jill Watson (Britain). City Composition. 2002. Bronze.

The Indoor Observatory hosts a regular series of exhibitions. Artists whose work has been featured include Wu Ching (gold sculpture), Ping-huang Chang (traditional painting) and Po-lin Chi (aerial photography).


A number of enterprises maintain offices in Taipei 101. A few that have been featured in public announcements include these:

  • ABN AMRO Bank
  • Anthony's Group Holding Company Ltd
  • Bayer Taiwan
  • Cosmos Bank
  • DBS Bank Ltd
  • Emirates Advocates Taiwan (Emirates Trade Commission)
  • The Executive Centre
  • Fulland Securities Consultant Company Ltd (a Hantec Group subsidiary)
  • GoldBank of Taiwan
  • Google Taiwan
  • HVB Bank
  • ING Antai
  • ING SITE (affiliate of Internationale Nederlanden Groep N.V., or ING)
  • ING SCE (affiliate of Internationale Nederlanden Groep N.V., or ING)
  • Jones Lang LaSalle
  • KPMG
  • McKinsey & Company Taiwan
  • PeopleSearch Taiwan
  • People's King
  • SABIC Asia Pacific Pte Ltd
  • Starbucks Coffee
  • Taiwan Ratings Corporation
  • Taiwan Stock Exchange Corporation (TSEC)
  • Winterthur Life Taiwan

Restaurants in the tower include XEX, Diamond Tony's and Shin Yeh 101 (欣葉). Hundreds of international dining establishments and retail outlets also operate in the adjoining mall.


Important dates in the planning and construction of Taipei 101 include the following:

Date Event
October 20 1997 Development and operation rights agreement signed with Taipei City government.
January 13 1998 Ground-breaking ceremony.
August 10 1998 Construction license awarded for 101 stories.
April 13 1999 Design change to 509.2 m height approved by Taipei City government.
June 7 2000 First tower column erected.
June 13 2001 Taipei 101 Mall topped out.
May 13 2003 Taipei 101 Mall obtains occupancy permit.
July 1 2003 Taipei 101 Tower roof completed.
October 17 2003 Pinnacle placed.
November 14 2003 Taipei 101 Mall opens.
April 15 2004 Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) certifies Taipei 101 as world's tallest building.
November 12 2004 Tower obtains occupancy permit.
December 31 2004 Tower opens to the public.
January 1 2005 First fireworks show begins at midnight for New Year's Eve activity.


Planning for Taipei 101 began in 1997 during Chen Shui-bian's term as Taipei mayor. Talks between merchants and city government officials initially centered on a proposal for a 66-story tower to serve as an anchor for new development in Taipei's 101 business district. By the time the ground-breaking ceremony took place on January 13, 1998 planners were considering taking the new structure to a more ambitious height. Ten months later the city granted a license for the construction of a 101-story tower on the site. Construction proceeded and the first tower column was erected in summer 2000.

Taipei 101's roof was completed three years later on July 1 2003. Ma Ying-jeou, in his first term as Taipei mayor, fastened a golden bolt to signify the achievement. Three months later the pinnacle was placed.

The formal opening of the tower took place on New Year's Eve 2004. President Chen Shui-bian, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng cut the ribbon. Open-air concerts featured a variety of popular stars such as A-Mei and Sun Yan Zi. Visitors rode the elevators to the Observatory for the first time. A few hours later the first fireworks show at Taipei 101 heralded the arrival of a new year.[29][30]


Taipei 101 is the site of innumerable special events. Art exhibits, as noted above, regularly take place in the Observatory. A few noteworthy dates since the tower's opening include these.



See also

External links

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