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Last edited 12 Oct 2020
Taipei 101 is a supertall skyscraper located in the Xinyi District of Taipei, Taiwan. Designed to resemble an enormous bamboo stalk, it has a height of 508 m and comprises 101 storeys above ground, and 5 levels below ground.
On its completion in 2004, it was the world’s tallest building, beating the Petronas Twin Towers of Malaysia, before losing the title in 2010 to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It was also the first building in the world to break the half-kilometre mark. It includes indoor and outdoor observation decks which offer 360-degree views of the city and are popular tourist attractions.
 Design and construction
Taipei 101 was designed to emphasise Taiwan’s growing prosperity on the world stage at the start of the 21st century, and was intended to symbolise technology’s evolution fused with the traditions of Asia. The building features many pan-Chinese and Asian elements mixed with a postmodern architectural style.
For example, curled ruyi figures proliferate throughout the structure as a design motif, rendered in industrial metal. It is an ancient talisman associated in art with heavenly clouds, and connotes healing and protection.
The tower is designed to rise from its base in a series of 8-storey modules, each flared outward, evoking the traditional form of Chinese pagodas. The top is capped by a smaller tower which forms a pinnacle.
The façade system of glass and aluminium panels is installed onto inclined, moment-resisting lattices tied back to ‘mega-columns’ every 8th-storey and contributing to overall lateral rigidity. The façade system is capable of withstanding up to 95 mm (4 in) of seismic lateral displacement without damage.
The building incorporates double-deck elevators built by the Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation. In 2004, these elevators set a new record for the fastest ascending speeds, at 60.6 km/h (37.7 mph), or 16.83 m per second. The record has since been broken by lifts in the Shanghai Tower.
 Structural stability
Because of its proximity to geological fault lines, and the propensity in the region for typhoons, pioneering engineering work had to be carried out to make the building stable and safe. The construction process involved 36 high-performance columns, including 8 ‘mega-columns’ packed with concrete. At 8-storey intervals, outrigger trusses connect the exterior columns to the columns in the building’s core.
As an indication of the building’s structural stability, during construction in 2002, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Taipei, causing two cranes to topple from the 56th storey, and killing five people. However, the building itself incurred no structural damage and construction work was able to resume shortly after.
It includes an innovative 660-tonne tuned mass damper (TMD). This gold-coloured spherical steel pendulum with a diameter of 5.5 m, is located in a multi-storey cavity near the top of the tower. The TMD sways, thereby offsetting movements caused by strong winds. It is the largest damper sphere of its kind in the world and cost NT$ 132m (US$ 4 m). In August 2015, a typhoon swayed the damper by 100 cm (39 in).
At the top of each of the 8 modules are the 'mechanical' floors accommodating waste systems, ventilation equipment, water storage and other services. The roof and façade-recycled water system meets 20-30% of the building’s water requirements.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- 7 Engineering Wonders of the world.
- Atlantis, The Palm.
- Building of the week series.
- CN Tower.
- El Castillo.
- Lotte World Tower.
- Petronas Twin Towers.
- Shanghai Tower.
- Tallest buildings in the world.
- The design of temporary structures and wind adjacent to tall buildings.
- The Shard.
- Types of structural load.
- Using springs in construction to prevent disaster.
- Taipei 101 - Official site
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