Taipei 101 (Chinese: 台北101 / 臺北101), formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center, is a landmark skyscraper located in Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan. The building ranked officially as the world’s tallest from 2004 until the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010. In July 2011, the building was awarded LEED Platinum certification, the highest award in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system and became the tallest and largest green building in the world. Taipei 101 was designed by C.Y. Lee & partners and constructed primarily by KTRT Joint Venture. In 2001, TFCC handed over the entire construction authority to Samsung C&T Corporation to expedite the process and to save KTRT Joint Venture’s loss.
The construction was finished in 2004. The tower has served as an icon of modern Taiwan ever since its opening. Fireworks launched from Taipei 101 feature prominently in international New Year’s Eve broadcasts and the structure appears frequently in travel literature and international media.
Taipei 101 comprises 101 floors above ground and 5 floors underground. The building was architecturally created as a symbol of the evolution of technology and Asian tradition (see Symbolism). Its postmodernist approach to style incorporates traditional design elements and gives them modern treatments. The tower is designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. A multi-level shopping mall adjoining the tower houses hundreds of fashionable stores, restaurants and clubs.
Taipei 101 is owned by the Taipei Financial Center Corporation (TFCC) and managed by the International division of Urban Retail Properties Corporation based in Chicago. The name originally planned for the building, Taipei World Financial Center, until 2003, was derived from the name of the owner. The original name in Chinese was literally, Taipei International Financial Center (Chinese: 臺北國際金融中心).
The Taipei 101 tower has 101 stories above ground and five underground. Upon its completion Taipei 101 claimed the official records for:
Ground to roof: 449.2 m (1,474 ft). Formerly held by the Willis Tower 442 m (1,450 ft).
Ground to highest occupied floor: 438 m (1,437 ft). Formerly held by the Willis Tower 412.4 m (1,353 ft).
Fastest ascending elevator speed: designed to be 1,010 meters per minute, which is 16.83 m/s (55.22 ft/s) (60.6 kilometres per hour (37.7 mph)).
Largest countdown clock: Displayed on New Year’s Eve.
Tallest sundial. (See ‘Symbolism’ below.)
Taipei 101 is the first building in the world to break the half-kilometer mark in height. The record it claimed for greatest height from ground to pinnacle now rests with the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (UAE): 829.8 m (2,722 ft). Taipei 101’s 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 displaced the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as the tallest building in the world by 56.1 m (184 ft). It also displaced the 85-story, 347.5 m (1,140 ft) Tuntex Sky Tower in Kaohsiung as the tallest building in Taiwan and the 51-story, 244.2 m (801 ft) Shin Kong Life Tower as the tallest building in Taipei.
Various sources, including the building’s owners, give the height of Taipei 101 as 508.0 m (1,667 ft), roof height and top floor height as 448.0 m (1,470 ft) and 438.0 m (1,437 ft). This lower figure is derived by measuring from the top of a 1.2 m (4 ft) platform at the base. CTBUH standards, though, include the height of the platform in calculating the overall height, as it represents part of the man-made structure and is above the level of the surrounding pavement.