Taipei 101 in Taipei

Photo of Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taipei Shih
Photo of Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taipei Shih
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Photo of Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taipei Shih
Photo of Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taipei Shih
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Taipei 101

Sung-Chih Road, Taipei, Taipei Shih Taiwan
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This is the building that in the early 21st century put all the other buildings in their place. At the time, there was a rivalry between several buildings over which had the right to call itself the tallest in the world. When the Petronas Towers were erected in Kuala Lumpur the owners claimed their building was the world's tallest. Some disputed this claim because Petronas compared the height of its decorative spire to the flat roof of what was then called the Sears Tower in Chicago. Using that measurement included the Malaysian spires, but excluded Chicago's antennae. If the buildings were next to each other, one could stand on the top floor of the American building and look down at the top floor of the Petronas Towers. Since the Petronas spires serve no purpose, many discounted them, and relegated Malaysia's magnificent twin towers to the status of "also-rans."

Then, along came Taipei 101, completely blowing the Petronas Towers out of the race. Taipei 101 is taller to both its roof and the top of its spire than the buildings in Luala Lumpur. It became the undisputed world's tallest building.

Taipei 101 is a wonderful structure. It proudly shows its Asian influence through both its structure and its decorative flourishes, and it is massed in the traditional way skyscrapers have been since the 19th century. It starts at the square base with a gentile slope inwards and upwards. The division between base and shaft is denoted by a belt running around the perimeter of the structure. This is adorned with something resembling a belt buckle in the center of each side. It is actually a representation of an ancient coin.

The notion of center ornamentation is repeated up the shaft at the top of each flaring section. Think of it as a series of Chinese food take-out boxes stacked one upon the other, eight high, each eight stories tall (eight is considered a lucky number locally). The designers, however, prefer to think of it as a bamboo shoot instead of fast food containers. To each his own.

The crown of the building also sports this form, but much smaller, and there are only two – one very short, the other very narrow. The whole thing is finished off the way any good skyscraper is – with a mast/antenna/spire complex. Taipei 101 has earned its place among the great towers of the world, and its presence is even more stunning in its home town, where at the time of its completion, it was more than twice the height of the next-tallest building.

But Taiwan's crowning architectural achievement was short-lived. On July 21, 2007 the Burj Dubai surpassed Taipei 101 as the world's undisputed tallest building.

Quick Facts
  • September, 2002: Five people were killed when an earthquake shook two cranes loose from the building.
  • October 18, 2003: The spire was raised into place, making this the tallest building in the world.
  • November 21, 2003: Pieces of metal fell from the roof of the skyscraper, hitting two people walking below, smashing car windshields, and littering an elementary school playground.
  • December 25, 2004: The daredevil known as "Spiderman" climbed the outside of the building. Alain Robert scaled the building as a publicity stunt during the building's official opening week. He is normally arrested for pulling such stunts illegally, but this time he was recruited. He also normally doesn't have any safety gear. This time he had a rope.
  • November 20, 2005: An Australian man, Paul Crake, became the first person to win a race up the stairs to the top of Taipei 101. He completed the run in ten minutes, 29 seconds.
  • July 21, 2007: The Burj Dubai in the United Arab Emirates surpassed this building as the tallest in the world.
  • There is a fault line just 660 feet from this tower, but the designers aren't worried about it, saying it hasn't been active in 45,000 years.
  • The building's spire is 60 feet tall.
  • Like many buildings its size, Taipei 101 has a tuned mass dampener to counteract swaying caused by earthquakes, wind, typhoons, and other causes. It is a massive solid steel ball about 60 feet in diameter, hanging from cables on the 87th floor of the building.
  • The foundation of the building is more than 250 feet deep.
Related Video
  • "This ceremony marks a historical moment that Taipei 101 is officially declared the tallest building in the world. Taipei 101 not only represents the height of a building Taiwan can create but also Taiwan's identity and world-class quality."

    -– Ma Ying-jeou, Mayor of Taipei, October 18, 2003

  • "A plane would probably bounce off the main columns. At the very least it would be able to stay standing a lot longer."

    - – Matthew Shaw, leasing agent for Jones Lang LaSalle, quoted in The Guardian, March 17, 2004

Rate This Skyscraper
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Your Thoughts

There are 90 comments.

  i have been looking at the tallest skyscraper in the world. I was impressed and hope one day to visit your country.and see it in real life.

Peggy Shealy - Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 @ 2:06pm  

  I was in Taipei in June and ran around the base many times! Its 0.86KM around the base according to my Nike Plus system. Great buidling and interesting to run around!

Karen Parnell - Monday, July 13th, 2009 @ 6:49am  

  It's Wonderful!! I don't understand why some people don't like it, people took effort into this guys! And it's interesting too!! I really like it!

Gabii Tongg - Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 @ 7:03pm  

  im proud to set my feet on the tallest building..its here where my fiance fall in love..its magnificient..pinoys in taiwan cant miss an opportunity to visit this superb creation!!!in fact it will be my wedding cake design and our background picture on our wedding favors.

loydalin - Thursday, March 26th, 2009 @ 11:23pm  

  Some may not lke this building at the first glance, but definitly like it more when they take a second look at. People crazy about modern building do not easily get moved by the traditional Chinese elements that the architecher has tried to introduce onto the works. I hreby sincerely invite all of you, like and dislike the building, to come over to Taipei and visit it in person, I'm pretty sure you'll get different impression each time and begin to like it more and more. And I more than agree with one of the comments: "The building looks so-so in photographs, but it is _very_ impressive in person.",indeed we are so much proud of this building.By the way, people here in Taipei really do not feel uncomfortable about the 660 feet away fault, after all, the risk of having a severe earthquake compares to that of the terror attack on the Twin Tower is still smaller for nowaday political chaos.

Clement Chen - Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 @ 7:21am  

  I love the building. Very original!

Sofia A. - Sunday, May 25th, 2008 @ 2:07pm  

  i am not a critic, but I do agree that it solved the petronas towers problem

ricky mcleod - Saturday, May 17th, 2008 @ 9:14am  

  I beleive this is one of the best designed structures. It has great engineering foundations and impressive methods of stability. The building itself looks like boxes of chinese food stack on top of each other.

Engineer Salomon - Saturday, March 15th, 2008 @ 2:05pm  

  It blows you away when you stand there and have to squint to look up to see the top..if you go up on the roof you appreciate the work and effort that has gone in to building this magnificent piece of art..

carin - Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008 @ 12:20am  

  this magnificent structure is just one small step of a man,and a giant leap of ingenuity and passion and greatness for mankind...

marvz - Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007 @ 1:31am  

  a unpopular building considring its height. like for example when ever you mention skyscrapers evryone thinks of the sears tower, petronas towers, or new york but never this building which is a shame

joe - Thursday, May 31st, 2007 @ 7:20pm  

  another amazing building on Earth and another unique building to represent Asia.well done to the team of engineers and of course also to the architect itself t come out with these crazy idea,from the imposible to reality!!! well done guyzz!!

derrick - Friday, April 6th, 2007 @ 8:59am  

  I think that this is a spectacular skyscraper. I wish America thought of this first though.

Ingrid Wong - Tuesday, January 16th, 2007 @ 1:20am  

  what a cool skyscraper!I am Doing a Math Project on this Taipei 101! It look so much different from the other skyscrapers! It is very tall!!

Haishan - Sunday, December 3rd, 2006 @ 4:21pm  

  amazing structure!!! i am currently doing a project for one of my classes in school and this is the building i decided to research. it is just simply amazing, in height and design.

jeremy - Thursday, November 23rd, 2006 @ 3:36pm  

  Excellent piece of modern architecture

Pawan Kumar - Thursday, October 19th, 2006 @ 2:22am  

  the structure is amazing it makes allthe other buildings around it look like ants

sam myors - Wednesday, October 4th, 2006 @ 12:24am  

  cool! it has a very different look from the other skycrapers. Fantastic form!

karina - Sunday, October 1st, 2006 @ 2:36am  

  While I like the massive size of this structure, I really think the building looks unattractive.

Chris - Saturday, September 16th, 2006 @ 6:09pm  

  Quite impressive. I visited this building twice in 2005 and was amazed by its internal and external architecture.The elevator ride to the top is crazy; 89 floors in 10 seconds. They anti sway device in the center of the building at top is quite interesting to look at and study. Fantastic views.

Marc - Thursday, September 7th, 2006 @ 3:04pm  

  Possibly the most ugly building in existence; the tower looks like a gaudy, pastiche palace. If built in Britain, would the architects have clad it in mock-Tudor? It tries too hard to look like more traditional buildings. The Petronas Towers look distinctly Malasian, but modern at the same time. This building, however, does not.

Mr. Foy - Sunday, August 27th, 2006 @ 10:30am  

  El edificio es bellisimo

Gustavo Olmo - Thursday, August 10th, 2006 @ 2:22pm  

  Esto es sencillamente extraordinario, maravillosos

Domingo Mateo - Friday, June 16th, 2006 @ 2:41pm  

  I have read a lot of the comments left by my "fellow" Americans. I have to say that I am not impressed by the negative veiwpoints on Taiwan and its culture. I think that once you come here to visit you will gain a new respect for this country and all that it has to offer. I currently reside here in Taipei and I love it. The veiw of Taipei 101 and the surrounding city is magnificent when looking at it from the nearby mountaintops during the day and at night. I definately would have to give Taipei 101 5 stars for its design and beauty. I have even been given the opportunity to raise money for charity by climbing 84 floors of Taipei 101 this weekend. I will definately gain a new respect for Taipei 101 after I finish the climb. I definately think that you should give things a try first before you form an opinion based on your own set of predisposed ideals.

Christopher Drouillard - Tuesday, May 16th, 2006 @ 10:11pm  

  I would Give It A Hundred Stars, But The Max. Is 5!!! I have a card model of it, a crystal of it, a notebook with pics of it! i bought them when i went there!!! if i go to taiwan next week again, it would be the 4th the i visited it!!!

Not gonna tell - Monday, March 6th, 2006 @ 2:23am  

  Amazing buidling. Its a boon for me that I will be on the top of this building tommorrow :)

Raghu - Tuesday, January 17th, 2006 @ 10:06am  

  overall design is very good but i take out a star considering its safety... and they could have used a better looking outer panels

Manas - Thursday, December 29th, 2005 @ 10:33am  

  Its pretty cool. Ive been there recently. I like the 91st floor outdoor observatory.

cool awsome dood - Thursday, December 8th, 2005 @ 6:12am  

  I have to say the morning I woke up in Taipei, that building was the only thing I saw, make all the other buildings look like toys. The style is ok, but to build the tallest building in the world on an island that has frequent earthquakes, I give them 5 stars for guts. but no way I want to even live near by.

Ed Liu - Friday, October 28th, 2005 @ 11:54am  

  very unique for sure, it represents the asian orient pagoda style, its out of scale for the area but surely its already a Taiwan landmark. to the west the design reminds us of chinese take out food order boxes stacked up but we see things depending what glass were looking thru,Ilove the decorative flourishes on the building something modern architecture have forgotten . I,m sure people in that country love the design and that is the important thing!

Wilbert NYC - Thursday, September 29th, 2005 @ 2:16am  

  it's beautiful, i'm impress:)

alev - Monday, August 1st, 2005 @ 5:02pm  

  symphaty on my neighbor... great expression of the pagoda in modern taiwan.

ivan - Monday, July 11th, 2005 @ 12:10pm  

  I have given this a 3. Not because it's bad-and not beacuse it's good. I just think it is interesting. The design is very unique, but I'm not sure if I really like it. I agree with most others in that the night view is amazing. The only flaws in this building is the dull glass and it out-of-place-ness. If you look at a few of the ground images, it is really one of the only huge buildings in the area. It just doesn't make sense to me. They could have madea more spectacular short building than just flipping over a bowl and stacking it. I can think of plenty of shapes they could have used, such as the triangle and arch. Also, add a little stone!

Colin Kennedy - Sunday, July 3rd, 2005 @ 8:58pm  

  Edifice tres impressionant. D'une part par sa hauteur et d'un autre part par son architecture tres innovateur. Interieur tres propres, tres luxieu. Et le must: la nuit avec les jeu de lumieres multicolores. et les formations de lettres: TAPEI !

Ly Vuong-Long - Tuesday, June 28th, 2005 @ 7:47pm  

  This building is excellent in all of its features...Design is of uniqueness and simplicity. This building seems like it holds a power.

Richard - Monday, June 27th, 2005 @ 8:58am  

  The building is a eyecatcher from every single angle, i also especially like the shape,and the lights during nighttime, the platform is not that special, as the view is mostly limited, but the elevators speed is unique i guess

pete - Thursday, June 16th, 2005 @ 3:51am  

  four stars for this wonderful architectural piece because it makez me fink ov wot the future iz gonna be

gino - Tuesday, June 14th, 2005 @ 10:56pm  

  too proud of my homeland ^o^

mary - Wednesday, June 8th, 2005 @ 12:11pm  

  I am so proud of Taiwanese engineers for their incredible accomplishment! Go and see, though the traffic there is terrible! :)

Yuyu Chen - Thursday, May 19th, 2005 @ 12:26pm  

  This building is a amazing architectural wonder.The picturesque view of this building is mesmerizing..

james dhinakar - Monday, May 16th, 2005 @ 3:13am  

  it's a pretty good building, and i like its night view. That's amazing....

erin - Friday, May 13th, 2005 @ 3:41am  

  I think it looks great, far less boring than quite a few other skyscrapers. The technology used to make it earthquake-safe is also remarkable (hope it works!). And the elevators are interesting in their own right.

Karin - Wednesday, May 4th, 2005 @ 3:59am  

  On a layover on my way to India a friend and I took a $35 taxi ride to see 101. I had expectation to see some architecturally boring very tall building. WOW is all I can say. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. It is beautiful,interesting, with fascinating detail and wonderful proportions. This will be a standard setter.Bravo.

kathleen - Thursday, April 7th, 2005 @ 3:27am  

  congratz! its really amazing.... this is one of my dream to be able to visit the place.

ernst ong - Wednesday, March 30th, 2005 @ 10:21pm  

  I like this building a lot and I would really love to visit it someday. The building is a very well designed structure and a beautiful one at that. As an architecture major here at the University of Colorado at Boulder, I hope to one day be a part of building a fine building such as this one.

Diego J. Baca - Sunday, March 27th, 2005 @ 12:34am  

  I think the shape of the building is wonderful. I agree the color of the glass is a little dull. I think a great color for the Taipei 101 would have been the color proposed for the Trump Tower Chicago. I think the shape of the Taipei 101 is much better though. Looking from a distance, this buildings top reminds me of the Empire State Building. I think the Taipei 101 is the Empire State Building for the 21st century. It represents modern day engineering and technological achievement. I would love to visit Taiwan just to see the 101. My hats off to Taiwan, they got it going on.

Charlie Shellenberger - Wednesday, March 16th, 2005 @ 9:44am  

  This building is amazing. The color changes daily depending on the weather. The shops are fantastic. The food is delicious. And, the fact that the building is so large really makes it more intriguing.

Blue - Monday, March 14th, 2005 @ 6:54am  

  I saw it in Nov 2003 before it was open. It makes a srtiking pose on the landscape. RE: Scott, This must have employed thousands during its construction. -Rich

Rich Sayers - Sunday, March 6th, 2005 @ 9:37am  

  The design of the building is facinating.

Jack - Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005 @ 12:58am  

  The design of this structure is excellent and the shock absorbers used in the structure to prevent any damage from the earth quake has been exemplary.its a credit fior the asians

pavan karthik - Monday, February 21st, 2005 @ 1:13am  

  Incorporating so many cultural simbols in its design elements is simply ingenious. The Chinese food take-out box description shows cultural insensitivity and is insulting. (Note the take out box is an invention borned in US.)

Philip - Sunday, February 20th, 2005 @ 5:48pm  

  Very unique and eye-catching. has one of the best interior design i've ever seen!

Jennifer Color - Thursday, February 10th, 2005 @ 2:35am  

  The building looks so-so in photographs, but it is _very_ impressive in person.

Jon - Tuesday, February 8th, 2005 @ 4:15pm  

  Isaw a documentary abot the building its a remarcable feat, specially the aerodinamic properties of it's edges. the chape represens a pile of traditional chinese baskets

Manuel Corona - Tuesday, February 8th, 2005 @ 2:43am  

  This is an awesome building that will prove to like no other. I still believe the crown should go to the Sears Tower, but definitely not the Petronas, nor the Freedom Tower in NY.

Christian Parra - Sunday, January 30th, 2005 @ 12:35pm  

  Nice building, but a little bit grey :)

Aurimas - Thursday, January 27th, 2005 @ 12:05pm  

  it's great!! very nice design and i escpesially like the 6th floor where there's a very nice italian restaurant.

Henry - Wednesday, January 26th, 2005 @ 7:26am  

  I think this structure is absolutely gorgeus. It's the best building i've ever seen.

Spencer - Tuesday, January 25th, 2005 @ 5:45am  

  I just returned from there and it is a very cool looking building, especially the closer you get.

Jim Hasstedt - Sunday, January 23rd, 2005 @ 3:05am  

  The most magnificient and edifiying building I've ever known.

Gyang, David Gatta - Thursday, January 20th, 2005 @ 2:40pm  

  It is a a great building with a great architecture with a great program of construction and comercial work. Congratulations to the people that designed it!!

Alejandro Alderete - Thursday, January 20th, 2005 @ 12:40pm  

  It is magnificent, beautiful and most of all, it is so coooool!! I love this building!! Such a nice view, and it is so gorgeous in the inside.

Michael Chang - Tuesday, January 18th, 2005 @ 8:35pm  

  It's beautiful, pleasant, spacious, easy to access and the night view is absolutely spectacular. You'll love the book store "Page One" :>

Joselyn Chiou - Tuesday, January 18th, 2005 @ 8:31pm  

  one of gratest bildings ever made

chris - Friday, January 14th, 2005 @ 12:36pm  

  One of the most fabulous skyscrapers I have seen. Has a temple type of style. Very cool, very unique.

Diana - Wednesday, January 5th, 2005 @ 3:15pm  

  Very nice.

Rob - Sunday, January 2nd, 2005 @ 3:09am  

  A spectular new landmark for Taipei. Good architecture but I have not read much details about it's ability to withstand a big earthquake. Hope it is $1.8 billion USD well spent. When is 007 coming?

Marlin - Friday, December 31st, 2004 @ 11:25pm  

  This is a really cool looking tower. A magnificent work of engineering. The 900 ton ball near the 89th floor to counter earthquakes and/or typhoons is pretty incredible in and of itself. However, I would NOT want to be up in that place when a 7.0 quake hits!

Dave - Friday, December 31st, 2004 @ 10:43am  

  I like! it is spectacular!!!

will warrior - Saturday, December 25th, 2004 @ 6:30pm  

  not very exciting from a visual standpoint, but it's incredibly interesting from a technological standpoint - a great engineering achievement, but I am sure a few strip malls are lamenting their missing glass storefronts.....

scott - Saturday, December 25th, 2004 @ 12:44pm  

  it's great and wonderful

william - Thursday, December 23rd, 2004 @ 1:55am  

  It has got to be the best building i've ever seen.

Nathan Brooks - Sunday, December 5th, 2004 @ 8:32pm  

  Good design and good usage of thought of eight no.

Sana Mahmood - Wednesday, December 1st, 2004 @ 12:29pm  

  I promise it must worth your while to see this building in person. It is spectacular not only for its exterior design but for the interior design.

Grant Lu - Saturday, November 27th, 2004 @ 11:30am  

  A clever and eye-catching design. Not a pretty building, like the Petronas Towers, but how many skyscrapers are?

Kerry Green - Sunday, October 17th, 2004 @ 3:47pm  


GARY - Monday, October 4th, 2004 @ 5:34am  


Zack - Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 @ 6:05pm  

  do not like the building itself, did not like the structure, see no need to such a amount of bricks, steel whatever, the building is not beautiful, it is a big work of archtecture just that...

Richter, Cildo R. - Saturday, September 11th, 2004 @ 1:29pm  

  Brilliant structure, absolutely spectacular

JimD - Monday, August 2nd, 2004 @ 1:51pm  

  The day view is alrite but the night view is definitely spectacular

jl - Sunday, August 1st, 2004 @ 4:22pm  

  It is a really wonderful and beautiful building.

Leandro - Saturday, July 31st, 2004 @ 6:31pm  

  The observatory still not open, promissed to be in y2005. The whole building is unfinished yet, thou there is a superb bookstore in floor 4.

Gabor - Wednesday, July 28th, 2004 @ 3:21am  

  A bit gray, a bit bland, but overall an OK building.

earthling - Saturday, July 24th, 2004 @ 8:37pm  

  i'm a little bit worries about the said fault line near the t101 of about 660 feet. the designers said that it wasn't active for 45,ooo years but we can never tell if when will be the fault line active again because we are not God. what if one of this days the fault line suddenly shows activity, i'm not threatening the residents of that building i'm just concerned. what if?????? and think of all the lives that woiuld be sacrificed.. thats all.. thnks..

james arimado - Tuesday, July 6th, 2004 @ 7:56am  

  This building is so cool

Cody Scott - Wednesday, May 26th, 2004 @ 1:35pm  

  I'm glad this building finally went up ending that bickering match over the Petronas Towers.

Mike Randolph - Wednesday, May 19th, 2004 @ 9:23am