Canadian Consulting Engineer

Taiwan tops world’s tall towers

October 20, 2003
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

With the addition of the final segment of spire, the Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan became the world's new official tal...

With the addition of the final segment of spire, the Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan became the world’s new official tallest building on October 9.
The 101-storey, 509.2 metre Taipei tower has topped the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, which previously held the record. Taipei holds three of the world’s official titles: tallest to structural top, tallest to roof, and highest to occupied floor. It also rises above the Sears Tower in Chicago, although the latter still reaches highest overall if the antennae are counted. As a free standing structure, though, Toronto’s CN Tower still reigns with a height of 553.33 metres.
Five years in the making, the Taipei tower has a composite structure, designed by Thornton-Tomasetti Engineering and Evergreen Consulting Engineering . C.Y. Lee & Partners are the architects.
Its concertina-type shaft (also described as a stack of gift boxes) is based on traditional Chinese building designs. Its specifications are also based on the number 8, which is traditionally seen as a lucky number in China. An 800-ton mass damping system helps stabilize the tower (two construction towers fell during an earthquake in 2002). The damper is situated in an exposed spherical structure near the top of the building between the restaurant level and observation deck. Also known as the Taipei Financial Centre, and situated on Sung-Chih Road in the Hsin-Yi District, the building has an indoor observation area on the 80th floor, and an outdoor observation deck on the 91st floor. Seven floors of the building will be occupied by the Taiwan Stock Exchange, and the rest will be offices, parking, restaurants, and a shopping centre.
Elevators will travel upwards at 60 kilometres an hour and down at 36.6 kilometres an hour — 34% faster than the current fastest elevators in the Yokohama Landmark Tower.
Taipei’s reign as tallest tower in the world is expected to be short-lived. An even taller tower is under construction in Shanghai, China and expected to be completed in 2007.
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