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Taipei 101

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Projects > Buildings
Looking up to the top of the Taipei 101
The Taipei 101 is a skyscraper located in Taipei, Taiwan. It was designed by C.Y. Lee & Associates and constructed by Samsung Engineering and Construction and KTRT Joint Venture. Construction took place between 1998 and 2004 and cost US$ 1.8 billion.

The building stands 1,670 feet (509 m) from the ground floor to its protruding spire.

It currently holds the record for “World’s Tallest Building” in three of the four categories outlined by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat: architectural top, highest occupied floor, and height to the top of the roof. However, the Sears Tower retains the record for highest tip of a building, which includes antennae, flagpoles, or signage.

Contents

[edit] Construction History

[edit] Designing the Taipei 101

The cult of tall buildings is a phenomenon that began in the 20th century. They represent advancements in technology and man’s struggle to outwit the natural elements. Taipei 101 is the perfect example of a building that required the most advanced technology to deal with two of nature’s most destructive events: typhoons and earthquakes. The city of Taipei sits directly on top of two tectonic fault lines and experiences typhoons every summer, with winds reaching 125 miles (201 km) per hour.

Dealing with these two events requires opposing architectural techniques. Earthquake-proof structures are flexible, bending and swaying with the ground to ensure the building doesn’t crack, whereas high winds are fought with stiff structural elements that will limit sway. So, architects were confronted with designing new techniques capable of dealing with both elements.

Project developer Harris Lin, president of Taipei Financial Center Corp., hired his friend C.P. Wang from C.Y. Lee & Associates to design the skyscraper. Early plans involved a 60-story tower in between two shorter 20-story buildings, but grew to become a single 101-floor superstructure “mixing ancient values with cutting edge technology.”[1]

The Taipei 101 design is based on two important pieces of Taiwanese culture: the pagoda, which represents serenity, and bamboo, symbolizing strength and resilience. It also makes considerable use of the number eight, considered a lucky number in Asian society. The building has eight upward-flaring sections and eight mega columns forming the center of the tower’s core. The central eight columns connect to a series of outer columns through horizontal outrigger trusses.

[edit] Preparing the Foundation

Before any excavation could begin, geological research had to be conducted. Geologist Dunstan Chen, chairman for Sino Geotechnology, discovered a fault under Taipei that was 33 feet (10 m) wide and only 650 feet (198 m) from the 101 construction site.

Meanwhile, designers subjected models to a number of different varieties of simulated earthquakes to test their stability. If there was even one weak link in the tower, the whole building could collapse.

Fault lines were not the only concern for builders. Geologists had taken core samples for eight months, and discovered three layers of soft sediment covering the solid bedrock below. In order to create a foundation solid enough to build the tower, they would need to bore deep piles into the bedrock.

Seven hundred thousand tons of earth were removed from the site. Then 382 concrete piles were bored 262 feet (80 m) into the ground, 98 feet (30 m) into the bedrock.[2] Each pile was five feet (1.5 m) in diameter and weighed anywhere from 1,100 to 1,460 tons. Then a 30,000-cubic yard (22,937-m3) concrete slab was poured, connecting all the piles.[3] This would pin the building to the bedrock, thereby fusing the tower to the earth below it. The Taipei tower would now be more earthquake proof than any Taiwan power plant.

It took a total of 15 months to prepare the foundation.

[edit] Constructing the Superstructure

Construction on the tower began in September 1999. It was made of a double tube structure, one steel and one concrete. The steel needed to be soft enough to weld, hard enough to withstand great weight, and pliable enough not to break in an earthquake. This required a complex chemical mixture of carbon, alloy, and refined iron. Too much carbon would make it too strong, and therefore too brittle and hard to weld. Each part of the tower required a different type of steel. In all, five different kinds of steel were used for the Taipei 101, each with a specific purpose and place in the tower.

However, the steel mixture was not the only thing requiring the utmost attention to detail. Every inch of every joint required perfect welding. Each joint took 14 hours to weld. Two years of construction was spent on welding alone.

Once welded together, the columns were filled with super strong, high-grade concrete, up to the 62nd floor. This concrete could withstand 10,000 pounds per square inch (68,948 kPa), making it 60 percent stronger than normal concrete.[4] This created the “strongest, most flexible backbone of any building ever.”[5]

[edit] Putting it to the Test

On March 31st, 2002, Taipei was hit with a 6.8 earthquake. It destroyed over 100 homes and caused five buildings to collapse. It put the Taipei 101 to the test before it was even completed.

Two cranes fell from the Taipei 101’s 56th floor, five workers were killed and dozens more were injured, but after months of investigating the structure to ensure it had not been damaged, construction resumed in July. The Taipei 101 had survived unscathed

However, since this large earthquake was accompanied by a number of smaller ones, some worried the Taipei 101 could be causing the quakes.

Dr. Cheng-Horng Lin believed the enormous weight of the tower could have reawakened the dormant fault lines below. However, it is important to note that this is only a theory and has not been proven.

On the other hand, Dunstan Chen of Sino Geotechnology, who had been involved since the beginning of the construction, noted the tower should not be the cause of the quakes. Since 700,000 tons of soil were removed and replaced with a 700,000-ton structure, the net pressure added to the earth should be zero.[6]

[edit] Tuned Mass Damper

After creating a structure that had proven flexible enough to withstand large earthquakes, the next problem was to ensure it could endure the great winds of Taipei’s summer typhoons. The designers developed an enormous tuned mass damper, which would minimize the effects of the wind.

It was a giant sphere weighing 660 tons that would sway opposite to the force of the winds. However, it was so heavy it was incapable of being lifted in one piece, so instead it was raised in prefabricated sections and welded together on-site. It consisted of 41 steel plates each 0.41 feet (0.12 m) thick, welded together to create an 18-foot (5.5-m) diameter ball.

It was hung from 16 four-inch (10-cm) cables and attached to a series of hydraulic pumps that act as mega shock absorbers. It is suspended from the 92nd to 88th floor.

The tuned mass damper was designed by Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers and Evergreen Consulting Engineering Inc.

[edit] Achieving the Title

After the final floor was finished, the Taipei 101 had still not achieved the title of “World’s Tallest Building.” However, construction was not complete. A 197-foot (60-m), 400-ton spire was attached to the roof allowing it to take the title from the Sears Tower.

The spire took 14 days to lift.

The Taipei 101 was certified as the “World’s Tallest Building” by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat on April 15th, 2004.

The tower opened to the public on December 31st, 2004.

[edit] The Completed Tower

The first four floors consist of retail facilities, a fitness center comprises floors five and six, offices make up floors seven to 84, there are restaurants on floor 86 to 88, observation decks on the 88th, 91st and 101st floors, and communication facilities on floor 92 to 100.[7]

Nearly 40,000 people go in and out of the tower each day, during peak periods of the year. They can travel on one of the tower’s 96 elevators, many of which are double-decked. The Taipei 101 has some of the world’s fastest elevators, reaching speeds of 37 miles (60 km) per hour. Each elevator cost US$2 million.[8]

The tower is equipped with enough electrical energy to power 6,000 homes. It is filled with enough electrical cabling to stretch from Taipei to New York, and back again.

[edit] Equipment Used

[edit] References

  1. Discovery Channel, Man Made Marvels: Taipei 101
  2. Discovery Channel, Man Made Marvels: Taipei 101
  3. Discovery Channel, Man Made Marvels: Taipei 101
  4. Discovery Channel, Man Made Marvels: Taipei 101
  5. Discovery Channel, Man Made Marvels: Taipei 101
  6. Discovery Channel, Man Made Marvels: Taipei 101
  7. SkyscraperPage.com Taipei 101, 2008-09-23.
  8. Emporis.com Taipei 101, 2008-09-23.

[edit] External Links