Taipei 101 - Asian Aesthetics on Skyscraper

Taipei 101, the modern structure is formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center. It is a skyscraper designed by C.Y. Lee and C.P. Wang in Xinyi, Taipei, Taiwan. This building was recognized as the world’s tallest from its opening in 2004 until the 2009 completion of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The height of the building is 1667 ft (508 meters) from the ground to the tip of the spire. The building consists of 101 floors above the ground and 5 floors below the ground. At the time of its official opening in October 2004, it was the world’s tallest building, having surpassed the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Taipei 101
An exterior view of the building


The is inspired and derived from traditional Chinese architecture, resembling the shape of a pagoda. The sectioned tower is also inspired by the bamboo plant which denotes strength, resilience, and elegance. The tower design specifications are based on the number 8. It is a lucky number in traditional Chinese culture. This design features 8 upward–flaring sections and is supported by 8 super columns.

Taipei 101
40th-floor plan layout


The lowest floors that lay above the ground of Taipei 101 houses a luxury atrium shopping mall. Most of the floors above the mall are dedicated to office space. The public observatories are situated on floors from 88 to 91. There is an indoor observatory on 89 and an outdoor observatory on 91. At a height of 1,285 feet (392.8 meters), the outdoor observatory was the highest in the world at the time of completion. Another indoor observatory, not open to the public, is on the top (101st) floor and is 1,437 feet (438 meters) high.

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Taipei 101
View of the mall inside Taipei 101

Construction of Taipei 101

The construction of Taipei 101 started in 1999. The structure, out in 2003, and the work completes by 2004. The largest section of the building, between the base and the spire, consists of eight modules, or groupings, of eight stories each (eight being an auspicious number in Chinese numerology). The building also expresses its distinctive Chinese character as its resemblance to a stalk of bamboo or an elongated pagoda.

  • It has 380 piles with 3-inch concrete slab.
  • The Mega columns are 8 cm thick steel and 10,000 psi concrete infill to provide for overturning.
  • The Walls in the building are 5 to 7-degree slope.
  • 106,000 tons of steel, grade 60- 25% stronger.
  • There were 6 cranes on site – steel placement.
  • Electrical & Mechanical
  • Curtain wall placement

Interesting Features

Like most modern tall buildings, Taipei also has a cool feature which is also one of its unique aspects, a visible tuned mass damper. At 5.5 meters, or 18 feet, in diameter, and 660 metric tons, or 728 US tons, it’s the largest of its kind in the world. This is an effective counterweight of a pendulum that attaches but not rigidly to the building. When the building sways back the other way, the mass damper, now just catching up to where the building was, is now a drag on the building moving the other way. Mass dampers, usually mounted high in the building, do an amazing job stabilizing tall skinny buildings, especially those in areas known for typhoon winds and earthquakes. Since Taiwan has an active seismic zone, hence the building’s strong structure.

The tuned mass damper in Taipei 101


The building is a pile through clay-rich soil to bedrock 40 – 60 m below. Also, the plies are topped by a foundation slab which is 3m thick at the edges and up to 5m thick under the largest of columns. There are a total of 380 1.5m dia. Taipei 101 is one of the most stable buildings ever.

Structural System of Taipei 101

Although Braced core with belt trusses, Massive steel outrigger trusses link the core and perimeter columns every eighth floor. As a result, the building’s most noteworthy structural element is its main tuned mass damper, which is seen from the indoor public observatory. Massive steel outrigger trusses link the core and perimeter columns every eighth floor.

The structure and column system

Column System

  • Gravity loads carries vertically by a variety of columns.
  • Within the core, sixteen columns are located at the crossing points of four lines of bracing in each direction.
  • The columns are box sections of steel plates, fills with concrete for added strength as well as stiffness till the 62nd floor.
  • On the perimeter, up to the 26th floor, each of the four building faces has two ‘super columns,’ two ‘sub-super-columns,’ and two corner columns.
  • Each face of the perimeter above the 26th floor has the two ‘super-columns’ continue upward.
  • The ‘super-columns’ and ‘sub-super-columns’ of steel box sections, filled with 10,000 psi (M70) high performance concrete on lower floors for strength and stiffness up to the 62nd floor.

Materials used in Taipei 101

  • Non reflective double low – E glass curtain wall
  • Steel
  • Concerte
Taipei 101
A street view of Taiwan towards Taipei 101


The building has the world’s second-fastest elevators traveling upwards at 1008 meters/minute (60.48km/hour) and downwards at 610 m/min (36.6 km/hour). Also, each elevator design is with an aerodynamic body, pressurization, and emergency braking system. The cost of each elevator is over USD 2 million.

Sustainable Design used in Taipei 101

Taipei 101 has received LEED platinum certification in 2012, which is the highest award for sustainable construction, which also made it the tallest green building in the world. Therefore, Taipei 101 is highly energy efficient. It is over 30% better in energy performance than the average building.

Water efficiency

  • Decrease portable water usage by 30%
  • Collect rainwater and use it for use
  • Site landscape uses 100% of rainwater

Sustainable site

  • All parking space is in the basement
  • 84% building occupiers take public transportation to work everyday.


  • Taipei Financial Center Corporation now owns Taipei 101. The skyscraper opened on 31 December 2004 to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The New Year’s Eve show in Taipei at the Taipei City Hall, which also provides a view of Taipei 101 which is lits up with fireworks. Therefore, Another popular location for crowds to gather to see the fireworks display is the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.
  • On 28 February 2005, former President of the United States Bill Clinton visited. He signed copies of his autobiography.
  • 19 April 2005, the tower displayed the formula “E=mc2” in lights to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of Einstein’s theory of relativity.
  • On 25 December 2004, French rock and urban climber Alain Robert made an authorized climb to the top of the pinnacle in four hours.
Fireworks display during New Year’s Eve in Taipei 101

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