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Project Spotlight: Taipei 101

Towering majestically on Taiwan’s skyline, the Taipei 101 was the first world’s tallest building completed in the 21st century and remains the first building in the world to break the half-kilometer mark in height. It was surpassed by Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010 though it remains a significant structure globally. Completed in 2004, the building stands at 508-meters and has 101 floors. A prominent icon in Taiwan, fireworks launched from the tower on New Year’s Eve has become an international broadcast and it is featured frequently in international media.

Construction

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Throughout the design, layout and planning of Taipei 101, a Feng Shui master was consulted to oversee and approve each step. Engineers were faced with numerous challenges: weak soil conditions, typhoon winds and large potential earthquakes. Engineers were faced with the task of creating a tower that could withstand gale winds of 134mph and some of the strongest earthquakes faced in the area of Asia-Pacific. The tower had to be flexible in the face of strong winds yet rigid enough to ensure comfort for the occupants and protection of glass, curtain walls and other features. While most buildings can achieve the necessary strength by enlarging critical structural elements such as bracing, the Taipei 101 was extraordinarily tall and demanded additional innovations to be put in place. High-performance steel construction was implemented which featured thirty six columns and eight ‘mega-columns’ packed with 10,000 psi concrete. Outrigger trusses were put in after every eight floors, connecting the columns in the buildings core to those on the exterior. To counter seismic and wind-induced movement, a Tuned Mass Damper (TMD) was installed between the 87th and 91st floors as the centerpiece of a public lounge. The TMD reduces the building sway by converting a portion of the wind motion of heat. It is the largest and heaviest of its type in the world and was constructed from 41 steel plates, is suspended from eight steel cables, rests on eight viscous dampers and can move five feet laterally in any direction. Taipei 101 has 61 elevators and two of these are the fastest in the world, taking only 39 seconds from the 1st floor to the 89th floor.

The lift brakes are ceramic rather than steel for greater efficiency and the tower is one of the few buildings in the world that is equipped with double-deck elevators. Also, each elevator is designed with an aerodynamic body, pressurization and emergency braking systems, and the world’s first triple-stage anti-overshooting system. A mechanic floor appears at the top of every eight-floor section and includes a ventilation system, garbage system, firefighting water storage tank, fire protection shelter rooms and an outdoor shelter balcony. The Taipei 101 is one of the most stable structures ever constructed, and this was proven in March 2002 when a 6.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Taipei. It toppled two construction cranes from the 56th floor (which at the time was the highest) but after an inspection no structural damage was found on the building and construction was able to resume. The structure’s blue-green glass curtain walls are double paned and glazed, offer heat and UV protection sufficient to block external heat by 50 percent. Taipei 101 also has five basement floors that are underground which is part of a shopping mall.

Furthermore, Taipei 101 is one of the tallest, green buildings in the world. The engineers utilized Energy Management and Control Systems (EMCS), allowing building managers to adjust operating temperatures, modify chiller plant operating schedules and modify chilled water distribution according to actual tenant needs. Water usage was reduced by adding low-flow water fixtures together with dedicated water management systems. Through this, Taipei 101 was able to decrease potable water usage by at least 30%, saving about 28,000,000 liters of potable water annually. The engineering team also installed low-mercury and no-mercury lamp fixtures throughout the building to reduce exposure levels and potentially toxic pollution. The Zhong Qiang Park was adopted as a sustainable landscaping practice and its purpose is to restore and protect habitats that allow native flora and fauna to flourish. In 2011, the building was awarded LEED Platinum certification, the highest award in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.

Symbolism

Created as a symbol of the evolution of technology and Asian tradition, Taipei 101 is the biggest engineering project that Taiwan has ever undertaken. Its 101 floors is a commemoration 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 also denotes the binary numeral system used in digital technology. Designed to open upwards, the building takes on a blossoming flower, representative of financial richness and everlasting vitality in the Chinese culture. A lucky number in traditional Chinese culture, the tower’s design specifications are based on the number eight. It features 8 upward-flaring sections, and is supported by 8 super columns. In digital technology the number eight is associated with the byte, being 8 bits. Resembling a pagoda, the tower is also inspired by the bamboo plant, which is a model of strength, resilience, and elegance. Throughout the structure, curled ruyi figures appear as a design motif, associated with an ancient symbol of heavenly clouds. They connote healing, protection and fulfillment and appear in celebrations of the attainment of new career heights. The emblem placed over entrances shows three gold coins of ancient design with central holes shaped to imply the Arabic numerals 1-0-1. Merging ancient motifs and ideas with modern techniques and materials, Taipei 101 speaks of the optimism, abundance, and the ever-renewing cycles of time.

Towering majestically on Taiwan’s skyline, the Taipei 101 was the first world’s tallest building completed in the 21st century and remains the first building in the world to break the half-kilometer mark in height. It was surpassed by Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010 though it remains a significant structure globally. Completed in 2004, the building stands at 508-meters and has 101 floors. A prominent icon in Taiwan, fireworks launched from the tower on New Year’s Eve has become an international broadcast and it is featured frequently in international media.

Posted by on Jan 11th, 2014 and filed under Articles, Projects. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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