It’s arguably one of the coolest skyscrapers in the world, and in this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of facts about Taipei 101.
1. What is Taipei 101?
Taipei 101 is a supertall skyscraper in the capital of Taiwan, Taipei. It was formerly known as the “Taipei World Financial Center” and its construction was completed on December 31, 2004.
The tower has become the ultimate symbol of the country of Taiwan as it incorporates traditional Asian aesthetics into a postmodernist architectural design. Because of this, it’s one of the most remarkable and iconic skyscrapers in the world.
2. How tall is Taipei 101?
As you might have expected, Taipei 101 got its name because it has a total of 101 floors. That’s just one floor less than the iconic Empire State Building in New York, which was the first skyscraper to have over 100 floors in the world.
The tower in Taiwan stands much taller though as it has a roof height of 449.2 meters (1,474 ft) and an architectural height (to the tip) of 509.2 meters (1,671 ft).
3. Its official name also has a symbolic meaning
The 101 in the name doesn’t just represent the number of floors in the building, it also has a symbolic meaning. Its name was also meant to honor the arrival of the new century (100+1). And not just that, also all the new years that follow because January 1 is 1-01.
The symbolic meaning is to represent the awesomeness of the building as 1 greater than 100, a number traditionally associated with perfection.
4. It held an amazing record upon completion
The moment the tower was completed, it became the tallest building in the world at the time. It was only surpassed when the Burj Khalifa (828 meters – 2,717 ft) in Dubai was completed, so it held this record from 2004 until 2010.
In 2004 it surpassed the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, which was then the tallest building in the world with a height of 451.9 meters (1,483 ft). Things go fast as the Petronas Towers aren’t even the tallest in Malaysia anymore as they got surpassed by the PNB 118.
5. There were more illustrious records for Taipei 101
The moment the tower was completed, it wasn’t just the tallest building in the world, it also held some other amazing records.
- It had the fastest elevators in the world.
- It was honored as the world’s tallest green building.
- It surpassed the Willis Tower in Chicago for having the highest occupied floor at 439.2 meters (1,441 ft).
- It had the world’s tallest sundial.
- It had the world’s tallest New Year’s Eve clock (and it was opened on the day of New Year’s Eve).
6. Who built and owns Taipei 101?
The tower is owned by the “Taipei Financial Center Corporation,” a company merely known for its ownership of the tower.
The architect is one of the most notable architects in all of Taiwan, namely Chu-Yuan Lee. He was also involved in the country’s two previous tallest buildings, the “Grand 50 Tower” (completed in 1992) and the “Tuntex Sky Tower” (completed in 1997).
7. The original plan was for a 66-story tower
The planning of the tower started back in 1997, when the then-mayor of Taipei, Chen Shui-Bian, was pressing to have a skyscraper built in the area.
The original plan was to have a 66-story building and 2 smaller buildings of 20 stories each in front of it. Investors were found and everything seemed to go as planned.
A major problem arose when the tenants of the 2 smaller buildings, the China Trust and the Taiwan Stock Exchange, wanted to have a spot in the main building instead.
To satisfy the two major tenants of the project, the plan was revised to a 101-story building, and approved in 2001, 2 years after construction had already started on July 31, 1999.
8. It’s one of the most stable buildings ever constructed
Taipei isn’t exactly in a favorable location to build supertall skyscrapers. It’s on the Pacific Rim, which makes the area prone to earthquakes, and Taiwan also frequently suffers from tropical Typhoons.
For this reason, its construction had to be extremely stable. The structural engineer, “Evergreen Consulting Engineering,” made sure the building can withstand winds of up to 60 meters per second (197 ft/s), or 216 km/h (134 mph), and remain stable during the strongest possible earthquakes in the region.
How did they achieve this?
The foundation is reinforced with 380 pillars that were placed up to 80 meters (262 ft) deep in the ground. Each of these pillars is 1.5 meters (5 ft) in diameter and can bear a load of 1,000–1,320 metric tons (1,100–1,460 short tons).
9. A natural disaster struck during construction
On March 31, 2002, it became all too clear why the foundation was reinforced with 380 massive pillars. An earthquake with a 6.8 magnitude hit Taipei during construction and a crane on the 56th floor, which as the top floor then, toppled.
5 people lost their lives in this incident. It became clear, however, that the skyscraper would be able to sustain future massive earthquakes as there was no damage to the core of the structure, and construction resumed shortly after.
10. It has the largest damper sphere in the world
RWDI, a specialized structural engineering company with headquarters all over the world, integrated a steel sphere that serves as a tuned mass damper into the building.
It is suspended from the 92nd floor to the 87th floor and its sphere is the largest damper sphere in the world.
The damper is used to offset movements in the building during earthquakes or typhoons, preventing structural damage.
11. The tower is used for amazing firework displays
Taipei 101 was officially opened about 5 and a half years after construction started in 1999 on New Year’s of 2004.
Ever since the building has been used for mind-boggling firework displays every New Year’s Eve.
Just take a look at the picture below as words can’t describe how amazing these displays really are!
12. There are both indoor and outdoor observation decks
As with just about any other skyscraper in the world, Taipei 101 offers visitors the opportunity to get amazing views of the city of Taipei from an observation deck.
What makes this skyscraper special is that it has multiple observation decks, 1 indoor and 2 outdoor, all offering 360-degree views of the city and surroundings.
The indoor observation deck is on the 88th and 89th floors, and the outdoor ones are on the 91st and 101st floors at a height of 383.4 meters (1,258 ft), 391.8 meters (1,285 ft), and 449.2 meters (1,474 ft) respectively.
13. The elevators are extremely fast
While the Guinness World Record for the fastest elevator isn’t in the hands of the elevators in Taipei 101 anymore, they are still pretty fast.
Visitors can enter the elevator on the 5th floor and reach the observatory on the 89th floor in just 37 seconds.
This means that it travels at a speed of 60.6 kilometers (37.7 mi) per hour or 16.83 meters (55.22 ft) per second!
14. Want to visit floor 101? Here’s how
If you read our post about the Empire State Building, you’ll know that there is a “secret” 103rd floor that is only open for VIPs.
The same thing applies to the 101st floor in Taipei 101 as it’s usually only open for celebrities and has a private VIP club called the “Summit 101.”
The difference is that it’s also open to the general public!
There’s only 1 downside: Only the people that have spent 1 million New Taiwan Dollars in the Taipei 101 shopping mall can enter. At current rates, that’s over $33,000!
Quick Facts about Taipei 101
15. The building’s owners and various other sources claim the building is slightly lower than its official height with a roof height of 448 m (1,470 ft) and an architectural height of 508 meters (1,667 ft).
16. The tower has a total of 101 floors and also has 5 levels below the ground as well.
17. There are a total of 61 elevators, some are among the fastest in the world.
18. The total floor area of the building is 412,500 square meters (4,440,100 sq ft).
19. The construction of the building started on July 31, 1999, and was officially completed on December 31, 2004.
20. The total construction cost was 58 billion Taiwan Dollars, which is the equivalent of 1.895 billion USD.
21. Even though Taipei 101 was surpassed by the Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest building in 2010, it was surpassed 2 years earlier in 2008 by the Shanghai World Financial Center for having a taller roof height and tallest occupied floor in the world.
22. It’s one of the greenest buildings in the world and its integrated water recycling system in the facade and roof can sustain up to 30% of the building’s water supply.
23. The tuned mass damper that protects the building from structural damage weighs (660 metric tons (728 short tons) and cost about NT$132 million (USD 4 million).
24. During a typhoon in 2015, the main sphere of the damper swayed up to 1 meter (39 in) due to the strong winds. It was the largest movement of the sphere ever recorded.
25. The plan and construction of the Taipei 101 happened just after the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis. Therefore a reference has been made to Rockefeller Center, which was constructed just after the Great Depression in the early 1930s.
26. The tower has an adjoined multi-level shopping mall which is home to the largest “ruyi” in the world, a traditional symbol of good fortune and power. The tower is literally covered with ruyi symbols.
Amazing Taipei 101 firework display
We told you that the firework displays on New Year’s Eve were pretty impressive right? Well, we found a video of the show to welcome the new year 2020.
Check out the amazing display here: