Special

The 20 Tallest Skyscrapers in the World

by Chris Newens  |  Published February 28, 2017


8. Taipei 101, Taiwan

An iconic red London phone box cuts an isolated figure in the city's Chinatown late at night (Photo: Gert Jan Kole via Flickr)

Lonely in its height, in a way that fits its iconic status (Photo: Shi-Hang Wei via Flickr)

Number 8 on the list, but, almost unbelievably, only the first after the Burj Khalifa to once have held the tallest building in the world crown. Finished in 2004, this Taiwan-based structure was intended as a deliberate statement, declaring the development of Asian technology and tradition.

Its style is postmodern in scope: a mishmash of the traditional and modern, all fitted to withstand the natural ravages, such as typhoons and earthquakes, to which Taiwan is particularly vulnerable.

As befits a building that was explicitly designed to be the tallest in the world, it is a complex web of symbols: its height of 101 floors was a statement of high ambitions, going one higher than 100 (a traditional number of perfection), that the main tower features eight sections of eight floors is because the number eight is a lucky number in China, while its inverted teared levels are meant to put people in mind of an Asian pagoda… turned on its head.