Taiwan’s Taipei 101 building project is the world’s tallest building by three measures: height to tip, height to roof, and height to highest floor. The Taipei 101 building’s roof tops out at the 448 m level (compared to the Sears Tower at 442 m). The building takes its name from the fact it has 101 floors.

Taipei 101 features the world’s two fastest elevators, which move passengers at a speed of 60 km/h. These elevators are 30% faster than the former champ, held by the Yokohama Landmark Tower. The elevators shuttle visitors from the basement level to the observation deck on the 87th floor in 39 seconds. The tower also features double-deck elevators.

Constructing tall buildings in Taipei presents unique design challenges. Not only is the city in the middle of an active earthquake zone but the city frequently gets lashed by typhoons. Tall buildings have to be able to stand up to both.

The builder’s goal of constructing the world’s tallest building almost came to a halt after a 6.8 quake in 2002 (5 workers where killed when a crane fell from the 58th floor… scary!). Fortunately the tower’s quake proofing was proven out and construction continued. However, paper work nearly killed the project again. New restrictions on buildings were imposed by Taipei’s nearby airport. Fortunately a special dispensation was granted.

Taipei 101 tower features mixed use tenants: retail, office, condominiums, and the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

The tower’s design incorporates many traditional Chinese building aesthetics, including a design reminiscent of a tiered pagoda. Part of the design is based around the number 8, considered a lucky number in China. The building’s exterior is divided into 8 delineated sections.

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