Sunday, October 13, 2013

台北101五百年後 -- the grim future of Taipei 101

All empires rise and fall. With very few exceptions, the great architectural monuments civilizations erect end up as ruins. The Egyptians, Romans, Maya, Greeks--most of their greatest constructions are now rubble. Why?

I discussed this problem with my teenage students in Taipei. Most of them agreed with me that the ancient Romans, when looking at their glorious city, could hardly imagine that one day it would nearly all be gone. Cultures build great monuments and imagine that they will last.

I then asked them to consider their own city’s towering monument to cultural pride, Taipei 101. Though Taiwan is not a large country, for several years this building, completed in 2004, was the world’s tallest, finally being outdone by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Still, impressive as Taipei 101 looks now, what will it look like in a century, in five centuries, in five millennia? Will it still be standing? What, if anything, could cause such a massive building to become a ruin?

My students had fifteen minutes of class time to write short essays on the question. What I got showed me much about how Taiwanese teenagers understand the future. I post the pithier essays here. I’ve made slight grammatical corrections, but changed nothing of the content.



I think Taipei 101 will become a ruin because of a terrorist attack. But why do I think the terrorists will attack Taiwan? The answer is that I think Taiwan will belong to America in fifty years. And then some terrorists will attack our landmark Taipei 101 just like they did the Twin Towers.

Another possibility is that Taipei 101 will become a ruin because of an earthquake in five years. Since the 921 earthquake, there hasn’t been another big earthquake in Taiwan. So I think there is going to be a big earthquake in five years and it will destroy Taipei 101.


I think there are two possibilities that might cause Taipei 101 to be ruined. First, everyone knows the economy is going down year to year. And the rate for Taipei 101 space may become more and more expensive. Maybe thirty or forty years later, nobody can rent the place to be office or restaurants.

Second, global warming is more and more serious. The climate in different places is becoming strange. Maybe one-hundred years later Taiwan will be too hot for people to live and everyone will need to move to the north.

There will be no people living in Taiwan, so Taipei 101 will be a ruin.


Taipei 101 is the tallest building in Taiwan. Because of its height, it may collapse easier than other buildings. Taiwan is a country that has many earthquakes every year, so I think it will happen in two-hundred years.

Sinking into the water is another possible way to make Taipei 101 a ruin. The water level of the ocean is getting higher and higher because the Arctic ice is melting. Maybe just like the move The Day after Tomorrow, the whole city will be underwater, and Taipei 101 will become an ice tower in the center of Taipei. It will probably happen in five-hundred years.


Taipei 101 is a symbol for Taiwanese. It means we are strong enough even though our land is pretty small.

I think America will hit Taipei 101, because their economy relies on China now. America knows China always wants to control us. If they destroyed our 101, we would lose our confidence. And there would be only one China in this world.

They would destroy it after fifty years, and China’s industries will become higher quality to help America.


History shows that all great buildings eventually become ruins. This will likely happen to Taipei 101 too.

Maybe it’ll be under-sea in about the 22nd century. Because of global warming, the ocean water will become more and more, and at last the water will cover everything. It’ll be like an “Under-sea tour spot” if humans are still living.

Maybe it’ll amaze the world in a different way at around 2150. All the buildings in the world will become taller and taller in the future--100 floors, 200 floors, 300 floors, even even 1,000 floors. Taipei 101 will become the shortest building in the world. People will be amazed by that.

There are many kinds of possibilities in the future, but no one can know what will happen at last.


I think in twenty years it will still be there, but after about five-hundred years it may not be so popular because there will be more constructions better than it. Maybe in 1,000 years it will become completely ruins because there won’t be any creatures on the earth except cockroaches.

Yoyo (not ELT Yoyo)

History shows us that all great buildings eventually become ruins. This will likely happen to Taipei 101 too.

The weather is getting hotter now. Maybe in 2513 all the land will be drowned, but Taipei 101 will have just a little top on the ocean, all the ground will be under the ocean, all the humans will be dead too.

Or maybe in 2213 Syria will shoot a missile at Taiwan, and Taiwan will become nothing. All the humans in Taiwan will be dead and Taiwan will become ruins.

Or maybe in 2113 there will be the third World War, and many of Taiwan’s people will go to fight, and Taipei 101 will become a ruin, because no one will buy things there.

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