Taipei 101 Skyscraper Deemed Tallest

A global architectural group on Friday declared the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taiwan's capital the world's tallest building.

The 1,679-foot-tall structure -- which some liken to a giant bamboo shoot of glass and steel -- received the title from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization involved in the planning, design and construction of skyscrapers.

"There's no dispute whether Taipei 101 is the tallest building in the world," said Ron Klemencic, chairman of the council, as he formally certified the building's record with a new plaque.

Before the title ceremony, Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian told Klemencic that the record "not only gives affirmation to Taiwan's architectural industry, it's also the pride and honor of Taiwan's 23 million people."

The 101-story skyscraper is 184 feet taller than the previous record-holder, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Taipei 101 also claims a hat trick for having the highest structural top, tallest roof and the highest occupied floor.

It also has two of the world's fastest elevators, which travel 3,333 feet per minute and can go from the ground floor to the 89th floor in 39 seconds.

To determine a building's height, the council measures from the sidewalk level of the main entrance to the skyscraper's architectural top, which can include a penthouse, tower, spire or pinnacle. Flagpoles, TV and radio antennas aren't included.

Last October, Taiwan celebrated the skyscraper's record-breaking status when a pinnacle was installed on top of the building, making it the world's tallest structure.

The building features office space, a shopping mall and an observatory.

Klemencic acknowledged that the future of tall buildings seemed uncertain after Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States destroyed the World Trade Center towers in New York.

"There was a strong emotional reaction from the public and even in the building industry," he said.

But he added that people now understand that the real threat came from airplanes. The terrorists could have easily attacked other structures, such as sports stadiums, he said.

Taipei 101 "is a much safer place to be than a house because of all the safety systems," he said.

Klemencic said the building has a state-of-the-art sprinkler and smoke control system. It also features "areas of refuge" -- specially reinforced places with fire protection -- that people can go to without evacuating the building.

"If there's a fire on the 75th floor, you only need to go down a few floors to a place built to be more fire safe and stronger," he said.

600450 Taipei 101 Skyscraper Deemed Tallest
Date: 11 October 2004

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