Construction on the 101-story tower started in 1999 and finished in 2004.
The tower has served as an icon of modern Taiwan ever since its opening.
The height is 508 meters (1,667 feet) as measured from the ground to the tip of the spire on top. The roof height and top floor height as 448 meters (1,470 feet) and 438 meters (1,437 feet).
Floor area is 412,500 square meters (4,440,100 square feet).
The total cost of construction was estimated around US$1.934 billion.
The building was designed by Taiwanese architecture firm C.Y. Lee & Partners.
The design of Taipei 101 borrows heavily from Chinese culture. Both the building’s interior and exterior incorporate the Chinese pagoda form and the shape of bamboo flowers. The lucky number eight, which means blooming or success, is represented by the eight clearly delineated exterior sections of the building.
Taipei 101’s characteristic blue-green glass curtain walls are double paned and glazed, offer heat and UV protection sufficient to block external heat by 50 percent.
Designing a building this large presented unique challenges, especially since Taiwan is subject to typhoon winds and ground-shattering earthquakes. To counter unwanted movement within the skyscraper, a tuned mass damper (TMD) is incorporated into the structure.
The 660-tonne (727-US-ton) spherical steel mass is suspended between the 87th and 92nd floors, visible from the restaurant and observation decks. The system transfers the energy from the building to the swinging sphere, providing a stabilizing force.
On 89 floor is Indoor Observatory, at 382 meters (1,253 feet) above the ground, the observatory deck provides an unobstructed view of the city in all directions.
On 91 floor is Outdoor Observatory, at 391.8 meters (1,285 feet) above ground, is the second-highest observation deck ever provided in a skyscraper and the highest such platform in Taiwan.
Two restaurants have opened on the 85th floor: Diamond Tony’s, which offers European-style seafood and steak, and Shin Yeh 101, which offers Taiwanese-style cuisine. Occupying all of the 86th floor is Taiwanese restaurant Ding Xian 101.
The multi-story retail mall adjoining the tower is home to hundreds of fashionable stores, restaurants, clubs and other attractions. The mall’s interior is modern in design even as it makes use of traditional elements.
The 101st floor is home to a private VIP club named Summit 101, according to the observatory brochure. Before 2014, no information about this club was ever made public. Foreign dignitaries, Hollywood film stars, and some shoppers spending more than 1 million Taiwanese dollars (US$31,017) in the Taipei 101 Mall have been invited to the VIP club.
There are 61 elevators inside of the tower. Each elevator has atmospheric controls to keep passengers’
ears from popping.
The double-deck elevators built by the Japanese Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation (TELC) set a new record in 2004 with the fastest ascending speeds in the world. At 60.6 kilometers (37.7 miles) per hour, 16.83 meters (55.22 feet) per second, or 1010 meters per minutes the speed of Taipei 101’s elevators is 34.7 percent faster than the previous record holders of the Yokohama Landmark Tower elevator, Yokohama, Japan.
Taipei 101’s elevators sweep visitors from the fifth floor to the 89th-floor observatory in only 37 seconds.
The original 2004 fiber-optic and satellite Internet connections permitted transfer speeds up to a gigabyte per second.
In 2011, the building was awarded the LEED platinum certification, the highest award according to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, and became the tallest and largest green building in the world.
In the evening, the tower displays one of the seven colors of the rainbow, a symbol of renewal, while also corresponding to the seven days of the week (and providing color-coded reminders).
4 is considered an unlucky number in Chinese culture, so what would have been the 44th floor has been
replaced by Level 43, with 42A replacing the actual 43 to compensate for the skipped floor number.
The 101 in the name refers to the number of floors, as well as the idea of renewal, going 1 step beyond the traditionally “complete” number of 100; it also represents the new year, which occurs on 1/01, as well as representing the digital language of binary.
For New Year’s Eve Celebration when the countdown enters the final stage, the building itself lights up floor by floor from the bottom up for the New Year’s countdown, making Taipei 101 the biggest New Year’s Eve countdown clock in the world. After the countdown is over, fireworks are immediately set off.
French climber Alain Robert, nicknamed the “French Spider Man,” climbed Taipei 101 legally on Christmas Day in 2004.
Austrian Felix Baumgartner, best known for breaking the sound barrier during his 2012 space jump, did an illegal base jump from Taipei 101’s outside observation deck on the 91st floor in 2007.