Tuntex Sky Tower is the tallest building in Kaohsiung and was the tallest in all of Taiwan before the construction of Taipei 101 in March 2003. Constructed from 1994 to 1997, Tuntex Sky Tower, also referred to as Tuntex & Chien-Tai Tower, T&C Tower or 85 Skytower, is 347.5 m (1,140 ft) tall without the antenna or 378 m (1,240 ft) with the antenna. It is Kaohsiung’s most major landmark and modern-day achievement, and is visible from miles away. Taipei 101 is 509.2 meters (1,671 ft) tall, making it the second tallest skyscraper in the world.
Tuntex may not hold the title of tallest skyscraper but it definitely has one of the most unique and creative designs for a skyscraper. Nothing is quite like it. It is made up of two separate buildings that merge into a single central tower from the 39th floor onwards, leaving a substantial space below the central tower. The skyscrapers resemble the Chinese character Kao, which is the first character in the name “Kaohsiung” and which also means “tall”. For those who are not familiar with Chinese characters, Tuntex also resembles a giant letter “A”. The Sky Tower is owned by the Tuntex Group and was designed by C.Y. Lee & Partners and Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum. (C.Y. Lee also designed Taipei 101.)
Here are the main features of the building. It is mostly occupied by offices but also has residential spaces from the 12th to the 38th floor, a department store, the Chien Tai Department Store, from the first to the seventh floor, amusement park from 8th to 11th, and a hotel, the Splendor Kaohsiung Hotel occupying the 39th to 70th floor, from which the two lower towers merge. Splendor Kaohsiung Hotel has the highest hotel rooms in the city and the second highest in the world, next to the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai. There is an observation deck on the 75th floor that offers a stunning panoramic view of the entire city, Love River and Kaohsiung Harbor for an admission price of NT$6. From the 76th to the 79th floor is a private entertainment club with a disco, restaurants and a spa. And finally, communication facilities and equipment are located on the 80th to the 85th floor.
These floors are serviced by three reliable and high-speed elevators (at 10.17 m/s or 750 m/min), the fastest elevators in the world, next to those in Taipei 101 and Yokohama Landmark Tower in Japan.
Tuntex Sky Tower truly represents where Kaohsiung now places in the world economy. What used to be a simple fishing village is now one of the most progressive and rapidly developing cities in the world. Kaohsiung is also known as Taiwan’s Harbor Capital, and thanks to the revenues generated in the high-tech, ultra-busy Kaohsiung port, Taiwan has one of the strongest economies in Asia. If skyscrapers are any indication of a country’s progress, then Tuntex and Taipei 101 clearly show Taiwan’s success. Two other Taiwan skyscrapers are Grand 50 Tower-Chang-Gu World Trade Center (also in Kaohsiung) and Shin Kong Life Tower.