Saturday, February 27, 2010

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Taipei 101, Taiwan's landmark skyscraper

2/27/2010 Taiwan Explorer

I love skyscrapers! I've always been fascinated with high-rise buildings and when I got the chance to see the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur (or KLCC) in 2005, I was really excited, it felt like a dream came true. And I have to say, I was totally amazed, my jaw literally dropped. Those famous twin towers will always remain the first mega-structure I saw and all the other buildings have to measure up with them. Of course I knew then, that KLCC was just surpassed by Taipei 101 and I always wondered how Taipei 101 might look in real. And few days ago I had the chance to see this building in real for the first time. And you may wonder now: Is it as impressive as KLCC? Is it as breathtaking? Yes.

Taipei 101 is very close to the Taipei City Hall building.

A very posh shopping mall is located inside the lower floors of Taipei 101.

FIRST IMPRESSION: Compared to KLCC, Taipei 101 doesn't feel as monumental, because it's just one single tower. And the main part of the building is actually 390m tall, actually it's that smaller thinner part on top (with the antenna), that makes the structure 509m tall. But when you see the building from below, you feel like that part doesn't really count, you can't really see it. Feels like they just added it to surpass KLCC's height. But all that was my first impression.

The torso.

SECOND IMPRESSION: Taipei 101 looks much better at a second glance. I love the color, the design and the symbolism behind it. When you walk around the area below the building, you feel safe, you feel like you're part of something extraordinary and revolutionary. Let me tell you: You are part of that. I love the way the building lights up at night, the way the colors change every day of the week. One day I will take photos every single day of the week from the same location just to get the whole color range. My most awesome experience with Taipei 101 was when I celebrated my 30th birthday on the 85th floor of the building and enjoyed a great view of Taipei City (check the link below). Looking out of that window at over 370m was for me, a passionate skyscraper fan, the best day of my life so far. If you have the chance, go up there, you will never regret it.

A view from Taipei 101 on the Xinyi District.

AROUND TAIPEI 101: I love Xinyi, the area around the building. It's modern, it's full of architectural gems and a very quickly growing district. It's one of my favorite parts of Taipei City. I usually take the subway to the Taipei City Hall MRT station and walk around the whole new area, full of shopping malls and caf├ęs. The area (see photo above) lights up beautifully at night. And they're still building here (as in 2010), which means it will become even more awesome.

Taipei 101 at night.

SYMBOLISM: When you see Taipei 101 from close, you notice the interesting symbolism. The main part is made of 8 segments, because 8 is a lucky number in Chinese culture and symbolizes wealth. The whole building resembles a Chinese pagoda or a bamboo stick. On each side of the four cardinal directions there are a huge discs resembling ancient Chinese royalty money. So it's all about money and good luck, a very common theme in Chinese tradition (source). And since I'm a big fan of symbolism and details, I saw the whole building with different eyes. The more often I go near Taipei 101, the more it grows on me. It has a certain magic, it calms you, but it doesn't intimidate you.

Read my other posts about Taipei 101:

Taipei 101 Mall
Taipei 101 in summer 2010
World's most expensive garden

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