The Petronas Ithum tower located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur is without doubt a wonder on its own. What was once 103 acres of Selangor Turf Club, where the rich and famous race their horses, now stood the tallest twin towers in the world. The Petronas Twin Towers stand at a staggering height of 451.9 meter in height making it the world’s tallest twin towers.
The idea to develop the Petronas Twin Towers came in the early 1990s with the master architect Cesar Pelli. The development was a vision of the then Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamed. In fact the designed was revised many times before the Prime Minister was satisfied. In the end, the basic shape was an inspiration of Mahathir himself and to be placed right in the middle of Kuala Lumpur itself.
The design of the Petronas Twin Towers is based on a simple Islamic geometric design of 2 squares aligned crossing each others to form an 8 pointed star. This reflects unity within unity, harmony stability and tranquility. The first obstacle came in the form of space. For Cesar Pelli, the basic 8 star design creates a space problem. Hence 8 semi circles were added, superimposed on the angle of intersection between the 2 original square to cater for this problem.
After all design of the Petronas Twin Towers were completed, the engineers saw a major obstacle in the construction. The original location in the center of Kuala Lumpur, is too soft to hold what would be the world’s tallest building. The team of engineers came up an ingenious plan to create one of the world’s deepest foundation at an amazing dept of 150meter below ground level. The raft foundation created a record with 13200 cubic meter poured continuously over 48 hours to prevent crack.
To create the Petronas Twin Towers out of steel would be too costly. Thus, the engineers decided to use what is abundant in Malaysia, concrete. After months of research, a high strength of Grade 80 was developed with the structural system to withstand 135 km/h of gust winds.
Two towers of the Petronas Twin Towers are connected with a 60 meters sky bridge suspending at a height of 170 meter making it the highest sky bridge in the world. What is unique about the sky bridge is that, if you stand in the center of the bridge you would realize it is perfectly horizontal, yet the floor connected by the bridge are not of the same floor, with one on the 41st floor and the other on the 42nd floor. From the bridge, you would get a perfect glimpse of the whole city of Kuala Lumpur.
To fasten the speed of construction, Mahathir had 2 different company for to construct each of the towers, creating a rival. Tower 1 was completed on the 6th of March 1996, followed by Tower 2 5 days later. To pull off an amazing construction in middle of Kuala Lumpur is real challenge. The construction finished within 5 years, and gave birth to a new skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur. Although both contractor initially decided to put the spire together, but the contractor for tower 1 decided to install it the same night without prior knowledge of the other contractor.
Both of the towers are installed with a high speed double decker lifts that can travel at an amazing speed of up to 6 meters per second making it the fastest elevator in Kuala Lumpur, rival to that of the nearby Kuala Lumpur Tower.
The Petronas Twin Towers opened its doors in 1997 with the official opening in 1998 just before the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. It represent the will and spirit of Malaysian and a testimony that they can achieve anything as long as they put their dreams into actions. The Petronas Twin Towers was the tallest building in the world until 2004 when it was taken over by Taipei 101 in Taiwan.