How far you can see when you look up? One of the tallest buildings of the world, Petronas Twin Towers is a pair of Sky touching office buildings in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. The towers can be reached within a half hour drive from Kuala Lumpur International airport. You can also take a train, bus or taxi to reach the towers. It houses the headquarters of Petronas, the national petroleum company of Malaysia. The twin towers were designed by an American architect, born in Argentina, Cesar Pelli and the construction was completed in 1998. Both towers’ structure plan is identical: an eight-lobed circular structure which contains 88 stories of enough space and a pyramid shaped pinnacle surmounted by a slender steel spire. Both towers are 1483 feet high and it includes 242 feet for pinnacle and spire. Each tower is supported by 16 big columns around it, which along with the rest of frame, are made of high strength and steel reinforced concrete in place of the traditional structured steel. A skybridge links the two towers between the 41st and 42nd stories and it is two stories tall.
The spires were attached to towers in 1996 and the Petronas Twin Towers were named the world’s tallest buildings shattering the record of Willis Tower in Chicago which has 110 stories. It remained at the top for six years. However now it is ranked 8th and Burj Khalifa tops the list.
The Petronas Towers actually represent Malaysia’s culture as the outline of the towers make the shape of ‘M’, the beginning letter of Malaysia. One of the towers is occupied by Petronas and its allied companies while the other has the offices of many multinational companies like HCL Technologies, IBM, Huawei technologies, Boeing, McKinsley & co., Microsoft and many more.
A double deck bridge spanning 190 feet connects the two towers at the floors 41 and 42 for easy circulation between upper tower floors with a minimum of lift transfer and possible crossover exiting through the other tower. The engineering of Skybridge was not a cake walk for the engineers and it was recognized as a significant challenge. It was modeled separately from the towers to make the construction easy and data reduction. The bridge with its supporting structure creates a portal to the sky, a 170m high portal, a door to the infinite. Expansion joints, located at both ends of the bridge structure, were designed to isolate the motion of the two towers from the bridge. When the towers move in opposite directions and the bridge end bearings slide in opposite directions, guided by ‘sliding keeper’ blocks on the bridge centre line. In the even that it loses its arch support, the bridge structure would not collapse but would deflect and stay in position. These qualities make the Petronas Towers unique, unlike any Western Giant buildings.
Symbol of Excellence
The Twin towers are known as the most popular instance of modern architecture in Malaysia. They give the country an urban icon and most dominant landmark on the skyline of Kuala Lumpur and a symbol nationally of modern Malaysia. There are intelligent systems integrated in the buildings like vertical transportation system, automatic controls and communication systems. The floor design expresses the dominance of Islamic culture and art in Malaysia. The Skybridge and space between the towers is seen as a symbolic gateway to the city. Totally the Petronas Towers are an object of national pride. Local citizens perceive them as highly significant symbol because of their beautiful design, uniqueness and advance technology. It is obvious because once renowned as world’s tallest building has given Malaysia a recognition on the world’s map.
The towers are serviced by a total of 76 lifts, of which 58 are double-deck lifts. The core consists of a hollow square of walls containing elevators, mechanical shafts and other services, connected to support beams that extend out to perimeter columns. There is a concert hall for the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra located between the towers. It has a large entrance lobby which is incorporated by a geometric design on the floor that features a radial swirl of stainless steel inlaid on green granite.
The buildings are rooted in the place in other ways. The skyscraper as a building type was born and developed in northern cities with cold climates. Light and sun were welcome and the walls were glassy and taut. The Petronus Towers are in tropics. Views are still important and the windows are continuous horizontal ribbons, but they are of modest height and protected from the sun by projecting shades. Malaysian colors, patterns, traditions and crafts have been incorporated throughout the buildings to make theses buildings not foreign elements but new citizens of Malaysia. The towers are completely clothed in stainless which shine and glow with the multiple reflections in the Malaysian light. These Towers express a rapidly industrializing country with a dynamic economy. Theses buildings show that Malaysia is growing towards a shining future.
If you want to see it with lights then remember to be there before midnight as they turn lights off after it and you wouldn’t want that. Would you?