Taipei 101

Trip Start Apr 23, 2007
Trip End May 17, 2007

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Flag of Taiwan  ,
Wednesday, May 9, 2007

went to the current tallest building in the world, the taipei 101. named so because it has 101 floors. took the 'straightshot' elevator to the observation deck at 89th floor. the elevator is also the fastest in the world at 1010m/sec.  they pressurized the lift so your ears don't pop from the rapid pressure change. they have a lcd screen in the elevator showing in real time how fast you are moving up the building and the current speed. the engineer in me thinks it's super neat. only took ~20 seconds to go from 5th floor to 89th floor. and the accleration and deceleration (the derivative of velocity) profile is done very well. you don't feel like you are riding a roller coaster like some other elevators.
once at the top, you have a 360 view of the city of taipei. it just towers over everything else near by. the observation deck mainly shows how terrible the air quality in taipei is. you can hardly see 10-15 km away and the you can barely see the outline of the surroudning mountains near taipei. my advice, don't pay to go up there unless it's a clear blue sky day.
to me it's crazy to build a structure this tall in an earth quake prone area. i have experienced earth quakes in taipei years ago on the 14th floor and let me tell it's not funny and you think the building is going to collapse and you are going to die. i can't imagine what it's like to be on the 90+ floor when an earth quake hits. the building has a massive steel ball counter weight near the top as a motion damping machanism that they called tuned mass damper. it's for both windy days and earth quakes. the steel ball damper is also the biggest in the world. i have some experience with tuned mass dampers in my professional work but nothing like this scale.
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