I have had the opportunity over my last 20 years in Kuala Lumpur to watch the rapid development of the city and the building of the famous Petronas Twin Towers on the site of the original horse racetrack. Even now, working downtown in the centre of the city, I still continue to admire these magnificent towers which have become a focal point for visitors to the city.
Petronas Towers were completed in 1998 and at that time became the world’s tallest buildings, just surpassing Sears Tower in Chicago, albeit because of the large spires. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, spires count, but antennae don’t. Spires do not contain floors, but they are counted in the world’s tallest building race for one architectural reason: they’re nice to look at.
Petronas Towers reflect a unique blend of religion and economic prosperity. The $1.6 billion towers contain more than eight million square feet of shopping and entertainment facilities, underground parking for 4,500 cars, a petroleum museum, a symphony hall, a mosque, and a multimedia conference center.
Each tower’s floor plan forms an eight-pointed star, a design inspired by traditional Malaysian Islamic patterns. The 88 story towers, joined by a flexible skybridge on the 42nd floor, have been described as two “cosmic pillars” spiraling endlessly towards the heavens.
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Completion Date: 1998
Cost: $1.6 billion
Height: 1,483 feet
Materials: Concrete, Steel
Facing Materials: Aluminum, Stainless Steel
Engineer(s): Thornton-Tomasetti and Ranhill Bersekutu