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Building the Taipei 101

The Taipei 101

Building so close to a fault line seemed risky. But geologists knew that bedrock lay 197 feet (60 m) underground. The bedrock would provide a stable foundation. Lee engineers and architects planned to use new building technology to help steady the tower. In January 1998, builders broke ground at the construction site. Workers drove 380 concrete piles 260 feet (80 m) into the ground. This was deep enough to anchor the building in the bedrock. On top of that foundation, workers began building a steel megaframe. The megaframe consisted of sixteen steel columns that form a core at the center of the tower. Near the outside walls, workers built eight super columns. The inner columns were filled with concrete up to the sixty-second floor to increase their strength. The outer super columns were filled with concrete to the twenty-sixth floor. Every eight floors, the inner and outer columns are connected by beams called outrigger trusses.

Consequences to Taipei from Taifun 2007

The trusses steady the tower without making it rigid. In March 2002, during construction, an earthquake hit Taiwan. The quake knocked two construction cranes off the tower. Five workers were killed. The loss of life was tragic. But there was no damage to the building. This seemed to be proof that the tower’s design would do what it was meant to do.

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