I have a love/hate relationship with Taipei 101 – the world’s tallest and most over-decorated building. On the one hand I like the fact that it is unashamedly Asian and Chinese in style, but frankly I think that is no excuse for the heavy handed detailing and curious lack of height perspective as a result of the inverted ‘bamboo’ sections – which somebody pointed out look rather like a pile of Chinese food take-out boxes with some chop sticks stuck in the top. Perceptive.
The one thing I do quite like about it, however, is the way the authorities use the faces of the building to communicate with the world beyond. Major events like New Year’s Eve or Valentines Day become decorated in lighting down the side. It rather opens a conversation, I suppose, with the city.
In Love with 101
As a post-script to this entry, I heard an interesting story about Taipei 101. The French free-climber that scales all the major buildings in the world without the aid of satefy equipment, arrived in Taipei to attempt 101. He, very reasonably, asked that if the building could be cleaned before the event – grease and dirt build up is obviously a hazard. The response was nagative. He then asked if it was possible to clean a small strip up the side, and was met with the same answer. It turns out that the building is simply not cleaned! Sadly, I think this sums up the attitude towards the built environment in Taiwan.