Taipei 101

It is the Eiffel Tower is to Paris what Taipei 101 is to Taipei. A landmark of the city. An engineering marvel. A structure with full of symbolism.

Some interesting facts and figures:

– Located at Xinyi District, the “Manhattan of Taipei”, a prime shopping area in Taipei, if not in Taiwan. Used to be wetlands before it underwent a massive development in the 90s.

– Cost USD1.8billion. Constructed in 4 years

– The building ranked officially as the world’s tallest from 2004 until the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010

– Has 101 stories above ground and five underground. Total height 509m. Observatory floor is at 391m (89th and 91th floor)

– Has the fastest elevator in the world at 1010m/min

– The tower is designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. Withstand winds up to 60m/s or 216km/h. For that, a tuned mass damper is installed at a cost of USD4million to stabilize the tower against movements caused by high winds. The damper (660 metric tons) can reduce up to 40% of the tower’s movements. This is the largest damper sphere in the world.

– The main tower features a series of eight segments of eight floors each. In Chinese-speaking cultures the number eight is associated with abundance, prosperity and good fortune. It resembles a stalk of bamboo (an icon of learning and growth), and a stack of ancient Chinese ingots or money boxes (a symbol of abundance).

Directions:

– MRT City Hall Station (Bannan Line (Blue)). From here the tower can be reached within 10-12 minutes walk. New MRT Line (Xinyi Line) will open by the end of this year or early next year which will provides a direct access to the tower through its own MRT station. Once completed it takes 11 minutes from Taipei Main Station to Taipei 101 Station.

Observatory:

Adult NT$500, Children under 12 NT$450

Open 9am to 10pm daily. Last ticketing & entry 9.15pm

Ticket booth and entrance is located at the 5th floor of the Taipei 101 Mall

Taipei101

Taipei 101 from Elephant Hills
Taipei 101 from Elephant Hills
Taipei 101 from Maokong, south of Taipei
Taipei 101 from Maokong, south of Taipei
At the base of and entrance to Taipei 101
At the base of and entrance to Taipei 101
One of the art installation in front of the tower (LOVE by Robert Indiana)
One of the art installation in front of the tower (LOVE by Robert Indiana)
This installation display all names involved in the construction of the tower
This installation display all names involved in the construction of the tower
A reflection of Taipei 101 on the art wall
A reflection of Taipei 101 on the art wall

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A view of Taipei from Observatory
A view of Taipei from Observatory
Another view at night of Taipei
Another view at night of Taipei
I am with the tuned mass damper of the tower
I am with the tuned mass damper of the tower
Panoramic view of the mall
Panoramic view of the mall
Taipei 101 Mall
Taipei 101 Mall
Coral display at Coral Shop on the observatory level
Coral display at Coral Shop on the observatory level
Taipei City Hall and Taipei 101 that is engulfed by cloud
Taipei City Hall and Taipei 101 that is engulfed by cloud
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Taiwan & Typhoon

Update:

I woke up to high wind chatter outside my apartment. This weekend of 5/6 OCtober 13, Taipei sees Typhoon Fitow passing by, at least it is hit by the typhoon tails. The typhoon moves north of Taiwan, passes Japan’s southern island chains before it hits China.

 

Typhoon Fitow as at 6 October 13. 5pm. The body of typhoon has engulfed Taipei and I observed strong winds and medium rain from morning till evening.
Typhoon Fitow as at 6 October 13. 5pm. The body of typhoon has engulfed Taipei and I observed strong winds and medium rain from morning till evening.

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If Qatar has its usual guest of dust storm, then Taiwan has its Typhoon. A week before I arrived a typhoon hit Taiwan; halted business to stand still and abandoned my teleconference with project office in Taipei. Few weeks before, a powerful typhoon, named as Soulik, also hit Taiwan and China, caused a widespread damage.

Just last week end, another typhoon, called Usagi, lashed Northern Philippines before it came to Southern Taiwan and then battered Hong Kong and mainland China. One of the strongest tropical cyclones, Usagi’s maximum sustained wind was 139mph, close to a definition of super typhoon of 150mph. This last typhoon didn’t affect Taipei much except high winds on Saturday afternoon and thunderstorms due to tails of typhoon.

Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau will normally issue typhoon warning; strongly advises residents to stay indoor, close the school, and office and cancel public transportation.

Taipei is prone to typhoons from May to October, though the highest concentrations are in August and September.

As I will be spending my time here at least until typhoon period is over; my inner voice wants me to see the actual typhoon although I pray to Allah that it won’t cause any harm.

Trail and predicted track of Typhoon Usagi that hit Philippines, Taiwan and China last week
Trail and predicted track of Typhoon Usagi that hit Philippines, Taiwan and China last week
Double typhoons seen on this satellite image. On the left is Typhoon Usagi that has just passed Taiwan and about to land to China. On the right is Typhoon Pabuk that fortunately made a curve path to north avoiding Taiwan
Double typhoons seen on this satellite image. On the left is Typhoon Usagi that has just passed Taiwan and about to land to China. On the right is Typhoon Pabuk that fortunately made a curve path to north avoiding Taiwan
Typhoon aftermath in Taipei last July (Source: USA Today, Wally Santana, AP - shown without permission for illustration purpose)
Typhoon aftermath in Taipei last July (Source: USA Today, Wally Santana, AP – shown without permission for illustration purpose)

Taipei

How to best describe Taipei, the capital of Taiwan? A fusion is probably my best bet. The fusion of ancient Chinese cultures, high technology and modern pop culture.

I was sent here since last August , to help with Laffan Refinery 2 Project, for process safety review of detailed engineering, or to be precise a part of HAZOP/SIL Studies team.

While my day-to-day will be extremely busy, with sessions running 8am – 6pm everyday for almost 11 weeks, I promise myself to at least sample and take from Taipei a better understanding how is it like to be Taipeiers, what this dynamic city has to offer, and a unique experience of living in a foreign soil.

I have already 800 pictures from my last three weeks navigating on of the world best mass transportation system, watching people of Taipei on their daily routines, hopping from one museum to another, immersing with the crowd in night markets, riding the fastest elevator in the world, learning the history of status-quo country of Taiwan and hiking the city greenery that offers magnificent vistas. I’ll be back!