Petronas Twin Towers ( ) (also known as the
Petronas Towers or just Twin
Towers), in Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia are twin towers and were the world's tallest
buildings before being surpassed by Taipei 101.
However, the towers are still the tallest twin buildings
in the world. They were the world's tallest buildings from
1998 to 2004 if measured from the level of the main entrance to the
structural top, the original height reference used by the US-based Council on Tall
Buildings and Urban Habitat from 1969 (three additional height
categories were introduced as the tower neared completion in
Comparison with other towers
In accordance to CTBUH, the pinnacles
contributed to the overall height of the towers, thus surpassing
the Willis Tower.
The Petronas Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in the world
until Taipei 101 was completed in 2004, as measured to the top of
their structural components (spires, but not antennas). Spires are
considered integral parts of the architectural design of buildings,
to which changes would substantially change the appearance and
design of the building, whereas antennas may be added or removed
without such consequences. The Petronas Twin Towers remain the
tallest twin buildings in the world.
Tower and the World Trade Center towers were each constructed with 110 occupied
floors – 22 more than the Petronas Twin Towers’ 88
The Willis Tower and the World Trade Center’s roofs
and highest occupied floors substantially exceeded the height of
the roof and highest floors of the Petronas Twin Towers. The Willis
Tower’s tallest antenna is taller than the Petronas Twin Towers’
spires. However, in accordance to CTBUH regulations and guidelines,
the antennas of the Willis Tower were not counted as part of its
architectural features. The spires on the Petronas Towers are
included in the height since they are not antenna masts. Therefore,
the Petronas Twin Towers exceed the official height of the Willis
Tower by 10 m, but the Willis Tower has more floors and much higher
Designed by Argentine-American architect César Pelli
, the Petronas Towers were
completed in 1998 after a seven year build and became the tallest
buildings in the world on the date of completion. They were built
on the site of Kuala Lumpur's race track
Because of the depth of the bedrock
buildings were built on the world's deepest foundations. The
120-meter foundations, were built within 12 months by Bachy
Soletanche, and required massive amounts of concrete.
The 88-floor towers are constructed largely of reinforced concrete
, with a steel and glass facade designed to
resemble motifs found in Islamic art
reflection of Malaysia's Muslim
Another Islamic influence on the design is that the cross section
of the towers is
based on a Rub el Hizb
circular sectors added to meet office space requirements).
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
Other buildings have used spires to increase their height but have
always been taller overall to the pinnacle when trying to claim the
title. In the aftermath of the controversy, the rules governing
official titles were partially overhauled, and a number of
buildings re-classified structural antenna as architectural details
to boost their height rating (even though nothing was actually done
to the building).
Tenants of the Petronas Twin Towers
A skybridge connects the two
An inside view of the skybridge
Tower One is fully occupied by Petronas
a number of its subsidiaries
associate companies, while the office spaces in Tower Two are
mostly available for lease to other companies. A number of
companies have offices in Tower Two, including Accenture
, Carigali Hess Bloomberg
, Khazanah Nasional Berhad
, McKinsey & Co
, HCL Technologies
, The Agency
modeling company) and Reuters
Spanning below the building is the KLCC park with jogging and
walking paths, a fountain with incorporated light show, wading
pools, and a children's playground. Suria KLCC is one of the
largest shopping malls in Malaysia.
The towers feature a skybridge
two towers on 41st and 42nd floors, which is the highest 2-story
bridge in the world. It is not directly bolted to the main
structure, but is instead designed to slide in and out of the
towers to prevent it from breaking during high winds. The bridge is
above the ground and long, weighing 750 tons. The same floor is
also known as the podium, since visitors desiring to go to higher
levels have to change elevators here. The skybridge is open to all
visitors, but free passes (limited to 1700 people per day) must be
obtained on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors are only
allowed on the 41st floor as the 42nd floor can only be used by the
tenants of the building.
The skybridge also acts as a safety device, so that in the event of
a fire or other emergency in one tower, tenants can evacuate by
crossing the skybridge to the other tower. The total evacuation
triggered by a bomb hoax on September 12, 2001 (the day after the
September 11 attacks destroyed
the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City) showed that the bridge would not be useful if both
towers need to be emptied simultaneously, as the capacity of the
staircases was insufficient for such an event.
call for the lifts to be used if both towers need to be evacuated,
and a successful drill following the revised plan was conducted in
The lift system
The main bank of Otis lifts
is located in the centre of each tower. All
main lifts are double-decker
with the lower deck of the lift taking passengers to odd numbered
floors and upper deck to even numbered floors. In order to access
an even numbered floor from ground level, passengers are required
to use an escalator
to access the upper
deck of the elevator.
From the ground floor, there are three groups of lifts. The "short
haul" group of 6 lifts take passengers to floors between level 2/3
and level 16/17. The "mid haul" group of 6 lifts take passengers to
floors between level 18/19 and level 37/38. There is also a set of
shuttle lifts that take passengers directly to levels 41/42. In
order to get to levels above 41/42, passengers are required to take
the shuttle lifts and then change lifts to the upper floors. These
connecting lifts are placed directly above the lifts serving levels
2 to 38. The pattern now repeats with the upper levels, one set
serving levels 43/44 to 57/58 and one set serving levels 59/60 to
Apart from this main bank of lifts, there are a series of
"connecting" lifts to take people between the groups. Unlike the
main lifts, these are not the double-decker type. Two lifts are
provided to take people from levels 37/38 to levels 41/42 (levels
39 and 40 are not accessible as office space). This avoids the need
for someone situated at the lower half of the building to go down
to the ground floor in order to gain access to the upper half of
The lifts contain a number of safety features. It is possible to
people from a lift
stuck between floors by manually driving one of the adjacent lifts
next to it and opening a panel in the wall. It is then possible for
people in the stuck lift to walk between elevator cars. During an
evacuation of the buildings, only the shuttle lift is allowed to be
used, as there are only doors at levels G/1 and levels 41/42;
therefore should there be a fire in the lower half of the building,
this enclosed shaft would remain unaffected. Firefighter lifts are
also provided incase of emergency.
The service building is to the east of the Petronas Towers and
contains the services required to keep the building operational,
such as dissipating the heat from the air-conditioning system for
all 88 levels in both towers.
Thousands of people were evacuated on September 12, 2001 after a
bomb threat was phoned in the day after the September 11 attacks
destroyed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York
City. Bomb Disposal squads found no bomb in the Petronas towers but
they evacuated everyone. Workers and shoppers were allowed to
return three hours later, around noon. No-one was hurt during the
On the evening of November 4, 2005, a fire broke out in the
complex of the Suria KLCC
shopping centre below the Petronas Twin Towers, triggering panic
among patrons who joined screaming in the thick, acrid smoke. There
were no reports of injuries. The buildings were largely empty
(except the shopping mall, Suria KLCC) because of the late hour;
the only people involved were moviegoers and some diners in
On the morning of September 1, 2009, French
urban climber, Alain "Spiderman" Robert
, using only his bare
hands and feet and with no safety devices, scaled to the top of
Tower Two in just under 2 hours after two previous efforts had
ended in arrest. On March 20, 1997, police arrested him at the 60th
floor, 28 floors away from the "summit." He made a second attempt
on March 20, 2007, exactly 10 years later, and was stopped once
again on the same floor (though on the other tower).
The Petronas Towers were a setting for some scenes in the 1999 film
and Catherine Zeta-Jones
. It ends in a
dramatic pursuit of the two stars by the Pasukan Gerakan Khas
leading to Connery's capture and Zeta-Jones's escape. In the
episode "Bound and Buried", in Life After People: The
, the towers are shown collapsing 500 years after
people due to corrosion and the weakening of the concrete columns.
The towers also feature in three levels of the game Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
where the player travels from one tower to another using the sky
bridge, though it is unlike the real sky bridge; instead of being a
narrow passageway, the sky bridge is wide and entered by breaking a
panel of glass. The PS2 game Burnout
features the Twin Towers as Spiritual Towers. Episode
22 from the anime
series Cowboy Bebop
shows what closely resembles
the Petronas Twin Towers being blown up by a terrorist. This was
taken off the air for a short time post-9/11. The Petronas Towers
are also a major setting in the 2006 Bollywood
film, Don - The Chase Begins Again
starring Shahrukh Khan
, directed by S.
.Also, in the 2007 movie, Billa
remake of the 1980 classic Billa
, the Petronas Twin Towers are being
seen as a major setting.In Joseph Vijay
you can see the Petronas
towers.Followed by Surya Sivakumar
comparisonImage:Torres Petronas Mayo 2004.jpg|The Petronas Towers,
looking upwardsImage:19819733 de194019c1.jpg|From
front-central-base entranceImage:KLCC inside1.JPG|Suria KLCC shopping complex at the base of the
towersImage:KLCC inside2.JPG|Part of the Suria KLCC shopping
complexImage:KLCC PetronasTowers.JPG|Front facade of the
towersImage:KLCC twin towers1.JPG|Towers from the water fountain in
KLCC ParkImage:KL Outing 022b.jpg|Towers with Suria KLCC and water
fountainImage:Petronas at night.jpg|Front facade of the
towersImage:Petronas Twin Towers 2.jpg|The towersImage:Twin Towers
at sunset.JPG|The towersImage:SuriaKLCC-atrium.JPG|Looking up from
concourse level in Suria KLCC's atrium
spaceImage:KLCC-evening.jpg|From the flyover
bridgeImage:KLCC-fountainview.jpg|View from the public
parkImage:KLCC_lights.jpg|Galactica Night at KLCC Petronas Twin
TowersImage:KLCC-night_tree.jpg|From the open public children
park/playgroundImage:Genting_view.jpg|Kuala Lumpur from Genting
Highland ResortImage:KLCCpark-fountain.JPG|The water fountain at
the rear entrance of Suria KLCCImage:SkyBridge.JPG|The 41st floor
nightImage:Skybridge.JPG|Close up view of the
skybridgeImage:Petronas_rain.jpg|The twin towers in the
rainImage:Petronas3_night.jpg|Petronas Towers at
NightImage:Petronas Twin Towers.JPG|Looking up from the base of one
of the TowersImage:KLCC park fountain night.jpg|KLCC park fountain,
at nightImage:Petronas Towers at Night - from the base
upwards.jpg|Looking up from the base of one of the Towers at
nightImage:Petronas Towers at Night.jpg|Petronas Towers at
NightFile:KLCC-viewed from ground level.JPG|A view of the facade
details of the towers from the street levelFile:Klcc bustle area
detail.jpg| Bustle Area Detail.File:KLCC Lobby ceiling detail.jpg|
Ceiling Detail at the Lobby
A quote by the building's main architect:
"According to Lao Tse, the
reality of a hollow object is in the void and not in the walls that
He was speaking, of course, of spiritual
These are the realities also of the Petronas
The power of the void is increased and made more
explicit by the pedestrian bridge that ... with its supporting
structure creates a portal to the sky ... a door to the
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