Taipei 101 is a 509 meters iconic skyscraper in Taipei, Taiwan. It consists of 101 floors and when it was constructed in 2004, it was considered the tallest building in the world. This skyscraper is prone to earthquakes and strong winds, which are pretty common in this area of the Asia-Pacific, reason why the engineers has to design a structure that could face gale winds up to 216 km/h and powerful earthquakes.
Normally, a skyscraper must be flexible in strong winds yet remain rigid enough in order to stop large sideways movement, but the height of Taipei 101 along with the demands of its environment requested extra innovations, which, in this case, consisted in designing a gigantic tuned mass damper.
The damper is actually a steel sphere 18 feet across and weighing 728 tones, being suspended from the 92nd to the 87th floor. The massive steel ball functions like a giant pendulum, which sways in order to counteract the construction’s movement caused by the powerful winds.
The dumper was built at a cost of $4 million and is the world’s largest tuned mass damper. It is visible to the public and during windy days people can see it in action.