The Petronas Towers, also known as the Petronas Twin Towers, are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)’s official definition and ranking, they were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 and remain the tallest twin towers in the world.
The Petronas Towers were the tallest buildings in the world until Taipei 101 was completed in 2004.
The Twin Towers, built to house the headquarters of Petronas, the national petroleum company of Malaysia, were designed by the Argentine-born American architect Cesar Pelli.
They chose a distinctive postmodern style to create a 21st-century icon for Kuala Lumpur.
The plan for each tower is identical: an eight-lobed circular structure that contains 88 stories of occupiable space and a pyramid-shaped pinnacle surmounted by a slender steel spire. Both rise to a height of 451.9 meters (1,483 feet), which includes 73.6 meters (242 feet) for pinnacle and spire.
The Twin Towers are shaped in eight-pointed stars based on simple Islamic geometric forms of two interlocking squares. The forms describe the Islamic principles of “unity within unity, harmony, stability and rationality”.
The towers are depicted through its outline, which resembles the letter “M” for Malaysia.
Each tower weighs 300,000 tonnes (330,693 US tons) – that is equivalent to 42,587 elephants.
The Towers feature multi-faceted walls of 33,000 stainless steel and 55,000 glass panels. Vision Glass, specialised panels with light filtering and noise reduction properties, provide a comfortable inner environment. The glass is covered by stainless steel visors to further protect visitors from the tropical sun.
Pinnacles house the aircraft warning lights and external maintenance building equipment. Each pinnacle features a spire with 23 segments, and a ring ball comprised of 14 rings of varying diameters.
Total built-up area is 395,000 square meters (4,252,000 square feet) and 213,750 square meters (2,300,785 square feet) usable space per tower.
The interior motifs are a reflection of local handicrafts and weaving patterns, while stainless steel and glass combine beautifully as Islamic patterns.
Designs and patterns of the entrance halls’ foyer reflect traditional handicrafts and ‘songket’, or weaving. In addition, the wall panels and screens are also inspired by hardwood carvings from the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The floor designs are based on intricate patterns of pandan weaving and bertam palm wall matting.
The Towers house 29 double-decker high-speed passenger lifts, six heavy-duty service lifts and four executive lifts. Each passenger deck can carry 26 people or 52 in total, while the executive lifts can carry an average of 10. Its speed is between 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) per second and 6 meters (19.7 feet) per second, depending on the zones they are servicing.
The towers feature a double decker skybridge connecting the two towers on the 41st and 42nd floors, which is the highest 2-story bridge in the world.
The observation desk on the 86th floor gives you an aerial view of the city.
Tower 1 is mainly occupied by the Petronas Group (international oil firm, one of Malaysia’s top companies) while tower 2 comprises various companies such as Huawei Technologies, IBM, Bloomberg, Microsoft, Reuters and more. These top-notched companies are renting office spaces available in tower.
Suria KLCC is a 140,000 square meters (1,500,000 square feet) upmarket retail center at the feet of the Petronas Towers. It features mostly foreign luxury goods and high-street labels. Its attractions include an art gallery, a philharmonic theatre, an underwater aquarium and also a Science center. Suria KLCC is one of the largest shopping malls in Malaysia.
The towers have 5 underground levels of parking for 5,400 vehicles.
Spanning 6.9 hectares (17 acres) below the building is the KLCC Park with jogging and walking paths, a fountain with incorporated light show, wading pools, and a children’s playground.
It was reported that the cost to build the twin towers was USD 1.6 billion.
On 15 April 1999, Felix Baumgartner set the world record for BASE jumping (since broken) by jumping off a window cleaning crane on the Petronas Towers.
On the morning of 1 September 2009, French urban climber Alain “Spiderman” Robert, using only his bare hands and feet and with no safety devices, scaled to the top of Tower Two in just under 2 hours after two previous efforts had ended in arrest.