The Taipei 101 ( 臺北101 ) was the tallest building in the world from 2004 to 2010. With a height of 508 meters (without an antenna 449 meters), this skyscraper rises far above the other buildings. Therefore, it is truly a distinctive symbol of modern Taiwan. But how is it possible that in one of the most earthquake-prone places such a tall tower was built? In this article I will take you to this high-tech tower and read all about its history, technology, symbolism and you will find all the information about visiting the Taipei 101. Do you happen to be in Taipei or are you going to visit this beautiful metropolis? Then definitely don’t skip this tower….
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The construction of the Taipei 101 – How it all started…?
Actually, the Taipei 101 was not intended to be so tall at all. The architects of C.Y. Lee & Partners had created a design of 66 floors. During the construction of the tower, which began in January 1998, it was decided to increase the number of floors to 101. But could this actually be done? The new design had to take into account the climatic problems that Taiwan has been facing for centuries: earthquakes and typhoons. After a thorough analysis, the foundation proved good enough to proceed.
But that the construction did not proceed flawlessly is not surprising in itself. In 2002 there was an earthquake of 6.8 on the Richter scale. 2 cranes fell down and 5 construction workers were killed. The remarkable thing was that the building had suffered very little damage. In 2003 the top of the Taipei 101 was reached and a year later the tallest building in the world was opened. And still this building is one of the most solid and stable towers in the world. And so it should be! The total cost of the construction of the Taipei 101 was 1.8 billion dollars. But what is the technological secret of the Taipei 101?
The secret of the Taipei 101? The Tuned Mass Damper!
As you know by now, the Taipei 101 consists of 101 floors. And to get there you have to use the elevator. This is the first technological gadget of this building. Once in the elevator, you shoot up at 1010 meters per minute, which means you’ll reach the viewing platform on the 90th floor in about 37 seconds. But then again, that’s only fair for that kind of money, isn’t it? Because every elevator in the building comes with a $2 million price tag. That’s fast, but for $2 million per elevator, it should be, right?
Once at the top, you’ll have a great view of the city. There’s also an outdoor platform on the 91st floor, but it’s only open in good weather. Visit the Taipei 101 preferably at the end of the afternoon. It gets dark around 6 o’clock and then you can also take beautiful pictures of Taipei by night!
The Tuned Mass Damper?
But the biggest secret of this building is the Tuned Mass Damper. This is a 660-ton steel ball that you can admire on the 87th to 91st floors. The idea of this heavy steel ball is that it should provide a counterweight in the event of an earthquake. This keeps the tower in balance as much as possible and the chance of the tower falling over is pretty much nil (it already is, but still!). Isn’t that a nice thought, should you ever be afraid to want to visit the tower and it starts to shake…? Because of the Tuned Mass Damper, the Taipei is protected from earthquakes with a magnitude of 7 to 8 on the Richter scale.
The symbolism of the Taipei 101?
If you had looked closely you would have probably noticed that the Taipei 101 looks very much like a bamboo tree? And that is what it is supposed to represent. With this, the architects indicate that it is an Asian masterpiece with some specific Asian characteristics. For example, the bamboo is a symbol of strong growth. An original bamboo tree can grow 20 centimeters per day (there are also species that grow almost 1 meter per day!). And in the evening, this symbolism is really brought to life when the tower is illuminated green. In 2011, the Taipei 101 also received the distinction of being the greenest building in the world. So it’s also energy efficient, if you wouldn’t expect that with all those lights….
But besides that, it also looks a lot like a pagoda. And a pagoda can be found at almost any Buddhist temple in Asia. The architects were also inspired by the teachings of Feng Shui. This is a philosophy that teaches how the environment can influence happiness.
In addition, the Taipei 101 consists of 8 segments and each segment in turn has 8 floors. The number 8 is associated with abundance, prosperity and good fortune in Chinese speaking countries. And in total it has 101 floors and 5 underground floors.
Shopping, eating & drinking: Do you love shopping and have a fat wallet? Then you have come to the right place. The most exclusive store can be found here and in the basement you will find a large Food Hall with all sorts of different restaurants and cafes. Ideal to end the evening with!
Finally, for a beautiful view over Taipei and the Taipei 101 you go to Elephant Hill. Tourists love to come here to take a beautiful picture of the skyline. The hike up takes 20 minutes at most and is an absolute must. Visit this place in the afternoon, so you can take beautiful daytime photos and around 6 pm at dusk, when the tower is beautifully lit.
Practical information about the Taipei 101 in Taiwan
Okay, you’re all caught up on Asia’s most extraordinary building! Now it’s time to visit this tower. Whether it’s also the most beautiful skyscraper you’ve ever seen is up to you!
How to get to the Taipei 101?
The Bamboo Tower of Taiwan is located in Taipei’s economic district, Xinyi District. It can be reached by the subway line R – Tamsui-Xinyi line and the appropriate stop Taipei 101/World Trade Center.
The Taipei 101 is open daily from 9 am to 10 pm. A ticket costs 600 Taiwanese dollars (about 17 euros) and can be obtained on the 5th floor of the Shopping Mall. The ticket counter closes at 9:15 pm. The lightning-fast elevator will take you to the top and you can enjoy the beautiful view of the city.
Do you have more tips, ideas and comments about the Taipei 101? Then feel free to leave a message below!