The Petronas Twin Towers are located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. The Malaysian Government decided to built the Petronas Twin Towers in the late 1980s, to represent Kuala Lumpur as a modern city with a respectable international standing. It took approximately 8 years to complete the superstructures of the towers, and it will take about another 10 to 15 years for final completion. The towers will have usable areas for offices and conference halls, as well as an 850-seat international-class concert hall, an art gallery, a petroleum science centre, and a reference library.
The Petronas Twin Towers stands at 451.9 metres tall, and have officially been recognized by the Council on Tall Buildings, and the Urban Habitat as the tallest buildings in the world. The Towers are technically 88 stories high, although the higher than average ceilings put the estimate at 95 stories. From the tip of longest pile to the tip of pinnacle mast, the towers are 592.4 metres tall. The towers are connected at the 42nd and 43rd levels, which is 170 metres from street level, by a 58.4 metre skybridge.
Designed by architect Cesar Pelli and Associates, of New Haven, Connecticut, the Twin Towers symbolizes strength and grace, using geometric principles represented in Islamic architecture. The Petronas Twin Towers design is very unique, with its star shaped edges combined with round surfaces (as seen on the towers illustration). One of the reasons the architects designed it this way, was to create as many profitable cornered offices. Also, they believed that this was the most wind resistance design.
After a detailed study involving more than 400 soil test, it was decided that the site of the Twin Towers, was to be moved 50 metres away from its original location. Now, the towers are built on a 99-acre site called Kuala Lumpur City Centre, on a foundation of a 4.5 metres thick raft.
Although Malaysia is not located within any seismically active zones, the architects nevertheless were challenged to come up with an economically buildable frame which can accept large amount of stress and loads. For that reason, the towers have been designed to withstand wind forces based upon a design wind speed of 126 kph. Another challenge was to design a frame that would take the enormous weight of the building (about 270,000 tonnes).
The towers transportation systems will have to meet the expected daily population of 50,000 people. Therefore the towers have 29 double-deck high speed passenger elevators, and 10 escalators in each tower. Also, the skybridge at the 42nd and the 43rd levels is expected to help the flow of the people from one tower to another.
The Petronas Twin Towers, are named after the Malaysian national petroleum corporation, Petronas, and is planned to become their new corporate headquarters. The towers are owned by Midciti Resources Sdn. Bhd., a joint venture between Petronas, and KLCC Holdings Sdn. Bhd.
Beyond Malaysia, the rapidly industrializing Asian nations of China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore have plans to try to outdistance the Malaysian buildings in the next decade, and the Twin Towers are expected to hold the title of the worlds tallest building for only a few years, before the planned 460-metre Shanghai World Financial Centre emerges in China.