It wasn’t until 1998 that the tallest skyscraper in the world. the Sears Tower in Chicago (now Willis Tower) was beat by Malaysia’s Petronas Towers by 33 feet. The spires on top of the Petronas Towers peak at 1,483 feet. The height did not come without much controversy. The highest occupied floor in the Sears Tower is actually 209 feet higher than the top floor of the Petronas with its antennas stretching higher.
According to the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, spires count as height while antennas do not. For this reason, the Petronas Towers are technically considered taller than the Willis Tower. These towers remained the tallest building in the world until 2004, when Taipei 101 surpassed them.
The towers were designed by architect César Pelli in a postmodern style. Planning, rigorous tests and simulations started in 1992 and construction began in 1993. Because of the depth of the bedrock, the towers were built on the world’s deepest foundation. Its engineering designs on structural framework were contributed by engineer Domo Obiasse, Aris Battista and Princess D Battista. The Towers’ structural system is a tube design invented by Fazlur Rahman Khan.
The 88-floor structures are constructed mostly of reinforced concrete with a steel and glass facade designed to mimic motifs found in Islamic art, a reflection of Malaysia’s Muslim religion. The tower features a double decker skybridge connecting the two towers on the 41st and 42nd floors, making it the highest 2-story bridge in the world.
The Petronas Towers feature a retail center with foreign luxury goods, an art gallery, a philharmonic theater, an underwater aquarium and a science center. Below the building is the KLCC Park with jogging and walking paths, a fountain with a light show, wading pools, and playgrounds.
Next time you are in the city of Kuala Lumpur, be sure to visit these mammoth structures!