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Latitude/Longitude: 25.0335, 121.564
Taipei 101 was the first building in the world to break the half-kilometer mark in height and the first record-setting skyscraper constructed in the new millennium. The record it claimed for greatest height from ground to pinnacle now rests with the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (UAE): 828 m (2,717 ft). Taipei 101s records for roof height and highest occupied floor briefly passed to the Shanghai World Financial Center in 2009, which in turn yielded these records as well to the Burj.
Taipei 101, like all spire structures, participates in the symbolism of a world center where earth and sky meet and the four compass directions join. The height of 101 floors commemorates the renewal of time: the new century that arrived as the tower was built (100+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. 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 cultures where seven is the lucky number, 8 represents 1 better than “lucky seven”. In digital technology the number eight is associated with the byte, being 8 bits. A bit is the basic (minimal) 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 fulfillment. 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 8 m (26 ft) 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. The cycle through the spectrum connects the tower with the rich symbolism of rainbows as bridges linking earth to sky and earths peoples to one another.
Millennium Park adjoins Taipei 101 on the east and connects the landmark further with the symbolism of time. The design of the circular park allows it to double as the face of a sundial. The tower itself casts the shadow to indicate afternoon hours for the building’s occupants. The park’s design is echoed in a clock that stands at its entrance. The clock runs on energy drawn from the buildings wind shear.
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 speak of optimism, abundance, and the ever-renewing cycles of time.
Structural System: Core Plus Outrigger
Structural Material: Composite Structure
Facade Material: Glass
Facade System: Curtain Wall
Construction Start: 1999
Floor-To-Ceiling Height: 2.85 M
Parking Places: 1,800
Building Costs: $1,760,000,000
⇒ Architecture Guide to TAIPEI
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