Petronas twin towers are currently the tallest twin towers in the world and for a number of years after their opening in 1998 were also the tallest building in the world of any type. Located in Kuala Lumpur, the towers have since been a globally recognized icon of Malaysia and its economic prosperity that soared in the late 20th century. The towers stand 451.9 meters tall with 88 floors and a unique sky bridge connecting the two towers.
The Petronas corporation commissioned the towers and thus one tower is occupied almost exclusively by the company while the other contains office space that is leased out to various tenants. Other functions include observation decks, a philharmonic hall and an art gallery. In total, The towers have 395,000m² build-up area, with 213,750m² free space for use and 186,000m² annexes.
The towers were designed by architect Cesar Pelli who decided to draw inspiration from Islamic motifs and elements and thus the resultant design is considered an example of postmodern Islamic architecture. Pelli used the Rub el Hizb, an important symbol found in many Islamic cultures, as a way to generate the plan of the building. The Rub el Hizb is characterized by two overlapping squares, one rotated 45 degrees, with a circle inscribed in the center. Pelli used the symbol as the footprints to both towers resulting in two extruded 8 point towers that reflected Islamic art. As the towers rise, they start to taper in wards at the 43rd floor and reach the pinnacle at the top forming an elegant summit that also helps to stabilize the towers. The interior motifs are designed to resemble Malaysia’s local handicrafts and weaving patterns, with a stunning combination of stainless steel and glass finishing on the building to form beautiful Islamic patterns.
Petronas Towers are also home to the world’s largest structural foundation, the slab of which reaches depths of approximately 120 meters into the ground, creating a forest of footings upon which the tower rests. The sky bridge connecting the two towers has been constructed in such a way that it responds independently to seismic or wind forces, this allows it to retain its own stability, a method that was quite innovative at the time of construction.