Formerly the world’s tallest building, the image of the Taipei 101 skyscraper is synonymous with Taipei and Taiwan as a whole. Towering above Xinyi district, Taipei 101 is arguably the country’s most famous tourist attraction and is way more than just a tall tower. Bars, restaurants, a world-class mall, and an incredible sky deck, 101 has all the flashy components that have visitors flocking to see it. However, there is much more to the Taipei tower than meets the eye. Here are six things about the building that you probably didn’t know. (Read more: Reaching new heights: a guide to Taipei 101)
It’s the Tallest Green Building in the World
Obviously, we’re not talking about color. At 508 meters high, Taipei 101 is the world’s tallest energy efficient building. Awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification for its design and energy efficiency, 101 is exemplary when it comes to electricity use, garbage production and water consumption. All of this is down to its Siemens Energy Monitoring and Control System EMCS that results in the building saving 2,995 metric tons worth of reduced CO2 emissions per year. Check out this article from Architype Review for more on 101’s environmental friendliness.
The Building is Mother Nature Proof
A giant wind damper (a big gold ball, basically) beneath the building’s observatory deck effectively makes Taipei 101 earthquake and typhoon proof – a pretty useful feature for a structure in Taiwan. To lightly get into the physics side of things, the damper generates enough reaction force to negate/counteract outside force that may be inflicted on the building by vibrations and shocks from an earthquake, for example. This is very important for skyscrapers, as tall buildings are more susceptible to high winds and shaking. So, the inclusion of a damper that can dissipate the impact of these external forces is a must for a building of 101’s size. To put it very, very basically: if you’re inside Taipei 101 during an earthquake, you probably won’t feel it. (Read also: A Perfect Day in Taipei’s Xinyi District)
It Lets you Know What Day it is
Seven colors of the rainbow are projected onto the side of the building, one each day representing that particular day of the week. Monday is red, Tuesday is orange, Wednesday is yellow, Thursday is green, Friday is blue, Saturday is indigo and Sunday is violet. So, next time you can’t remember what day it is, just look at Taipei 101. How else are you supposed to find out?
It’s Home to Some of the World’s Fastest Elevators
Taipei 101 has 61 elevators, including some of the world’s fastest. The fifth-floor elevator, for example, will take you from there up to the 89th floor in just 37 seconds. That’s 60kph, which saw it enter the Guinness record books as the world’s fastest. Taipei 101 has since been superseded by the Guangzhou Chow Tai Fook Finance Centre in China as the building with the world’s fastest elevator, but honestly, who follows this news anymore? It’s all a bit up and down, if you ask us… (Read more: 6 things to do in Taipei that should be on every visitor’s bucket list)
The Design is Inspired by Bamboo
Taipei 101 supposedly looks like stick of bamboo with eight sections to it; squint and you’ll see it, maybe… Anyway, eight is a lucky number in Taiwan as 八 (ba) sounds similar to 發 (fa), which means to make a fortune. Some people also say it looks like a stack of Western-style Chinese food take-out boxes, the shape of which derive from ancient money boxes. Also, the four discs on each side of the building are supposed to represent coins. Basically, it’s all about dat money $$$$$$$$.
It Takes 3 Months to Clean the Windows
Taipei 101 has 17,000 windows, which is so many windows. The majority of them (if not all) are cleaned by hand, by some of the world’s most daring window cleaners and it takes the best part of three months to get round them all before, presumably, they start all over again. (You might also like: Running Up 101: The Ultimate Taipei Experience)