Taipei 1O1 is a successful skyscraper construction and a bizarre architectural history standing on the grounds of the Xinyi district of Taipei, located in Taiwan. The importance of the tower building is an emblematic expression of commerce, architecture, and sustainability; the construction heralds a commercial picture with its financial services and vibrant shopping mall; apart from this, the skyscraper is acclaimed as the 7th tallest tower in Asia and 10th tallest tower in the world with the height of 508m; moreover, the building has sustainable measures, and it is certified as a LEED Platinum green building.

Structural Engineering of Taipei 101 - Sheet1
Taipei 1O1_©skyscraper center.com

Architectural features

The architectural model of the building is zoned; at two different levels based on its commercial requirement; the square-shaped complex is the mall building, and the tower structure inhabits the office space. The tower is a series of eight modules with 25 floors in each module that diverge outward from the base to the top; the topmost module is lower in perimeter but rises as a pinnacle that eyespots the city’s visualization; and the form of the building engulf the traditional form of the Chinese Pagoda.

Taipei 1O1 is the first skyscraper built with the concern of sustainability, and to achieve that building has an implementation of various sustainable models, such as; the facade is constructed with double-paned green glass curtain walls. These green glasses are highly reflective in nature and block half of the solar radiation waves resulting in a thermally comfortable environment inside the building.  Apart from this, there are other sustainable aspects found in the energy management and control system of the building that includes controlled illumination through energy-efficient luminaires, custom lighting controls, and the use of smart technology in equipment, for example, low-flow water fixtures.

Structural engineering behind building’s stability

Taipei 1O1 is considered an architectural and engineering marvel, as per the technical innovation installed to sustain the structural stability against the hazardous surroundings susceptible to harsh environments and disaster. The structure is prone to earthquakes and witnessed an earthquake of 7.1 magnitudes during its construction and a category 5 typhoon in the year 2015. The two events derive the importance and requirement of structural strength and flexibility that would be capable of resisting the disasters.

Foundation System

The site of the Taipei 1O1 demands a well-planned foundation system, as reported in the soil investigation, which states that the building site has the constituent of soft soil in the form of clay that is abuted vertically with the colluvial soil and these soils have low load bearing capacity. Apart from this, a layer of soft rock in the form of sandstone lies underneath the depth of 40m to 60m, which imbibes the requirement of a stiff foundation. The site has a matt foundation with bored piles to distribute the load of the superstructure. The tower has a 21 m deep basement with the water table at the site 2m below the ground level, uplifting force on the foundation of the building. So the construction of 1.2 m thick and 47 m deep slurry walls supported the excavation and foundation beneath the ground level.

The foundation of the tower has 380 piles of 1.5m diameter and 167 piles inserted beneath the podium. The piles were capped with 3 to 4.7 m concrete raft slabs to transfer the load of columns and walls.

Structural Engineering of Taipei 101 - Sheet2
Foundation Details_©youtube.com

Superstructure Engineering

The structure of the tower is biomimicry of bamboo, light in weight, flexible and strong; the joints in the bamboo are the source of strength replicated in the building in the form of outriggers and belt trusses on every eight floors. The shape of the base module is a truncated pyramid resisting the lateral stiffness as compared to cuboidal blocks; floors are composed of composite steel and concrete of thickness 135 mm. The steel used in 80 percent of construction is of 420 MPa strength while concrete has 70 MPa strength.

Structural Engineering of Taipei 101 - Sheet3
Building section and details_©civilengineeringforum.com

Wind and Seismic Load Configuration

Typhoon 1O1 experiences a wind velocity of 156 kmph that impacts the building due to the vortex shedding the alternate crosswinds producing alternate whirlpools that affect the facade. The sharp corner of the building has more impact on wind force hence; the saw-tooth edges of the building reduced the crosswind force on the facade.

The lateral load from earthquakes was another concern that required the building to have a strong core and perimeter columns. The floor plan of the tower has 16 box columns arranged in four lines which are braced by frames and cased in concrete walls of strength 69 MPa till the 62nd level. The perimeter core has eight super columns 3m long and 2.4m wide, steel boxed with the help of 50 to 80 mm thick welded steel plates and filled with concrete, and are constructed up to the 90th level to resist the overturning of the tower. Shear studs bind the steel and the concrete together. The structure core allows the building to stand against 0.5-g ground acceleration.

Structural Engineering of Taipei 101 - Sheet4
Plan below level 26 showing braces_©youtube.com
Structural Engineering of Taipei 101 - Sheet5
Saw-tooth edges shown with super columns_©youtube.com
Structural Engineering of Taipei 101 - Sheet6
Perimeter column frames_©civilengineeringforum.com

Mass Damper

 The area between the 86th and 92nd floor of the building has a massive pendulum of 726 tonnes and 6m diameter known as a Tuned mass damper, TMD installed to counter the wind force reduces the sway of the building in typhoons also, and the damper enhances the inhabitant’s comfort in strong winds. The damper acts as shock absorber released from building motion that energy from the building due to wind oscillations and reduces building movements.

Structural Engineering of Taipei 101 - Sheet7
Location of Damper_©thetowerinfo.com
Tuned Mass Damper_©99percentinvisible.org

References:

  1. Skyscrapercenter.com. 2022. TAIPEI 101 – The Skyscraper Center. [online] Available at: https://www.skyscrapercenter.com/building/taipei-101/117
  2. Taipei 101 – Structural Engineering. 2022. [DVD] youtube: structure explained. Available at:              https://www.youtube.com                          
Author

Divyanshi Sahu is a young ,passionate architect and co-author of book –“philosophies from not so philosophers ” the connectivity of her thoughts with the architectural diversity , drives her to explore and write more about the variations of the field.

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