First things first this morning was to get cash. We did not bring debit cards with us, so have just been exchanging the USD cash we have when we can. Why we waited until a Sunday to do this I don’t know, but turns out banks here are closed on Sundays. This resulted in having to take a taxi to the airport and exchanging there.
Wanting to go to a local spot for breakfast, I used our best friend Yelp to find one in the area with good reviews. We headed to Da’an district via the MRT (now token experts), and walked over to the restaurant. Wish I could post what it is but, it does not have an english name and my mandarin is a little rusty. There were two lines, one for take out and one for eat in. They serve all different kinds of rice bean soup there. The to-go soup is served in plastic bags. We ordered one of the soups, a hot and cold milk, dumplings, and a few different kinds of eggs for breakfast. All of it was awesome.
From here, we started on the walk to Taipei 101. On the way, we spotted some guys playing basketball. Some of the guys were pretty old, and we thought it was great so we went in the gate to take some video. In doing so, Charlie was recruited to take the place on the older men’s team.
Next stop, Taipei 101. **Warning** I geeked out pretty hard over this building, so I got a little detailed here! It’s an incredible feat of engineering 🙂
From 2001-2010, Taipei 101 held the world record for tallest building. It is 550 m (1,666.6 ft) tall, has 101 floors above ground and 5 below. It took 7 years to construct, and it was built in segments: 8 groups of 8 stories, the first skyscraper to ever be built with such an approach. In Chinese culture, 8 is a lucky number.
While no longer the world’s tallest building (that title was taken over by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai) it is trying to become the new model of an ultra-green building. It achieve LEED certification in 2011, and became the tallest green architecture in the world.
Another achievement this building boasts is having the world’s fastest elevator. The ride from the 5th floor to the 89th floor takes 37 seconds. The design utilizes high-tech dampers and atmospheric pressure control within the car. It was wild. I took a video of our ride down, and we were descending at 600m/min (22.4mph).
That stuff is all really cool, but by far my favorite part of this building was the “Super Big Wind Damper” (that’s what they call it). A building this size, much like the Comcast Center in Philly, needs a way to counteract the sway of the building. The Comcast Center has the world’s largest Tuned Liquid Column Damper, but Taipei 101 has the world’s largest Tuned Mass Damper, and it is the only building damper open for public viewing. It is a huge golden sphere, made up of 41 solid discs of steel of varying diameters that are welded together. Each disc is 4.9 inches thick, and the whole sphere is just over 18 feet in diamter. Weighing in at 1.45 million pounds (132 elephants), it is suspended by 8 cables, each woven of more than 2,000 strands of steel. In addition, it is stabilized by 16 huge hydraulic viscous dampers. During a typhoon in August of 2015, the damper recorded a swing amplitude of 100cm (3ft-3.3in), the largest since the building has been in action.
Anyway, enough of the technical stuff, here are the pictures!