Formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center, Taipei 101 is a super-tall skyscraper within the city’s Xinyi District. At just over 500 metres, it stood as the world’s tallest building until the Burj Khalifa was completed in Dubai in 2009 and has one of the world’s fastest elevators.
Taipei 101 was designed to reflect the evolution of technology, together with Asian architectural traditions and elements of feng shui, and it has received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s (LEED) highest award for green building. It has also been designed to withstand typhoon winds and earthquakes which are common in Taiwan’s east, making it one of the most stable buildings ever constructed. It includes 101 floors above ground and five below, together with an adjacent multi-storey shopping mall. Its observatory is spread across four floors and offers incredible panoramas across Taipei, with entrance tickets and an audio tour available in eleven different languages. A multimedia corridor is situated on the 88th floor with 270-degree views taking in local landmarks, as well as an immense wind damper which is designed to offset the wind force hitting Taipei 101. An indoor observatory on the 89th floor provides equally impressive vistas, coupled with high-powered binoculars and a museum detailing the building’s design and construction. A staircase leads from here up to the 91st-floor outdoor observatory where visitors can view the building’s spire, while a small theatre inside presents films about the building and its annual New Year’s fireworks display.
Taipei 101 is easily accessed along the MRT lines to the Taipei 101 Station. Public buses also stop along Xinyi Road on its southern edge, or it’s a short walk from the start of the Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail.
Initial proposals for a modest 66 story tower to anchor the new Taipei 101 business district were put forth in 1997 before a more ambitious project was suggested. Construction began in 2000, and its roof was completed three years later, with the tower officially opened on New Year’s Eve 2004 with a live concert and fireworks display.