Building Name – Petronas Towers
Location – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Owner – Kuala Lumpur City Centre Holdings Sendirian Berhad
Architect – Cesar Pelli
Contractor – Tower 1: Hazama Corporation, Samsung Engineering & Construction and Kukdong Engineering & Construction City Center: B.L. Harbert International
Engineers – Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers
Year of Start – 1992
Year of End – 1998
- Once considered the tallest building in the world from 1998 to 2004.
- Completed in 1998, the Petronas Towers are a reflection and homage to the dominant Islamic culture of Malaysia.
- To create a uniquely Malaysian design, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects drew from Islamic culture, Kuala Lumpur’s climate and light, and Malaysian craft and design.
- The plan of the towers is generated from two overlapping squares that form an 8-pointed star, a pattern frequently found in Islamic design called Rub el Hizb.
- As the buildings rise, they step back six times, and at each setback, the walls tip outward slightly, adding complexity reminiscent of traditional Malaysian architecture.
- Rather than just leaving the building as a simple extrusion of a preexisting symbol found in Islamic art and culture, Pelli “scalloped” the points of the start to create a more elegant and delicate aesthetic that is found in most Islamic motifs.
- The towers are clad in panels of glass and stainless steel that softly reflect sunlight.
- As the building rises to 452 meters , it begins to taper toward the antennas that are placed on top of the towers. The tapering is meant to stabilize the towers structurally, but it also adds an elegance and powerful position to the skyline of Kuala Lumpur.
- Between the two towers is a powerful, figural void. To activate this space, the center of the composition, a two-story bridge was added at the 41st and 42nd floors, structured by angled brackets that shape the space and accentuate the vertical thrust of the towers.
- This sky lobby connects the buildings and contains spaces shared by both, including elevator lobbies, a conference center, and a prayer room.
- The skybridge is not rigidly connected to either tower so that when there is severe weather and wind issues, the bridge can move independently from the towers.
- The Petronas Towers are placed on the world’s largest foundation that is 120 meters (approx. 400 ft) deep creating a forest of concrete footings.
- The 120-meter foundations were built within 12 months by Bachy Soletanche, and required massive amounts of concrete.
- Due to a lack of steel and the huge cost of importing steel, the towers were constructed on a cheaper radical design of super high-strength reinforced concrete.
- High-strength concrete is a material familiar to Asian contractors and twice as effective as steel in sway reduction however, it makes the building twice as heavy on its foundation than a comparable steel building.
- Supported by 23-by-23 meter concrete cores and an outer ring of widely spaced super columns, the towers use a sophisticated structural system that accommodates its slender profile and provides 560,000 square metres of column-free office space.
- Below the twin towers is Suria KLCC, a shopping mall, and Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, the home of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Inside, the project emphasizes local materials and patterns.
- The walls of the lobbies are finished in light-colored Malaysian woods set in a stainless steel grid, and the marble floor pattern is derived from a pandan weaving pattern. A continuous wood screen shades the lobbies.
- In the shopping areas, arcades and canopies at street level evoke the five-foot way found in traditional Malaysian shop houses.
- Although designed and built before sustainability was a common design priority, the towers’ design conserves energy through attention to climate and location.
- Shading devices are built into the façade at every story to take advantage of Malaysia’s high sun angle, a traditional practice in tropical architecture.
- In addition, laminated glass was used to reflect radiation away from the interiors and minimize heat gain, thus reducing the use of air-conditioning.
- In the original plans, principal architect César Pelli had the towers topping out at 427 metres, which fell only 15 metres shy of tying the world’s then-tallest building, Chicago’s Sears Tower.
- Once Malaysia’s prime minister learned how close it was, he pressed the architects and engineers to find a way to make the towers taller, so that the world’s tallest buildings would be in Malaysia.
- Solution is to add sphire on top opf towers.The gleaming 73.5-metre tall stainless steel pinnacles, which had been redesigned to bring the building’s official height to 451.9 metres above street level.
- The pinnacles, which comprise a mast, a spire ball, and a ring ball, were lifted piece by piece and fixed into place almost a month to the day after the towers had both been declared as fully topped-out.