January 02, 2004
Taipei 101 (and its smelly toilets)

I love a good skyscraper, and I'll happily settle for a big skyscraper. However, I completely missed this one, until this evening I watched a recording of a Channel 5 documentary about skyscrapers. (Salisbury Cathedral came in for some serious praise. Way ahead of its time in a number of ways, apparently.)

taipei101.jpgHere's how this October 18 2003 report starts:

The Taipei 101 office building laid claim to the title of the world's tallest skyscraper following a ceremony yesterday to position a 60m spire on top of the structure.

With the addition of the spire, the building boasts of a full height of 508m, eclipsing Malaysia's Petronas Twin Towers, a company executive said yesterday.

But why Taipei 101? Answer here:

TAIPEI is an acronym for Techonology, Art, Innovation, People, Environment, and Identity. 101 represents the concept of striving for beyond perfection.

Bullshit is alive and well and living in Taiwan. For a more jaundiced view of this new edifice, go to this guy:

You can only imagine the horror when my friend and I decided to pop by Taipei 101 after a Christmas-day buffet lunch at the Hyatt next door. We took a pit stop at the restrooms in the Taipei 101 mall (the only part of the building open to the public, unless they close it because crap is dropping off the building and injuring people) and just couldn't believe how horrible they smelled. Those restrooms stank to high hell. How long has that mall been opened? Like two months? All that wonderful technology that produced the world's tallest building in an earthquake zone and they can't figure out how to deodorize a bathroom?

Architecture is very cruel. Unless you get everything right, you can get it badly wrong.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 06:11 PM
Category: Architecture