ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwidethe world's most visited architecture website
i

Sign up now and start saving and organizing your favorite architecture projects and photos

i

Find the most inspiring products for your projects in our Product Catalog.

i

Get the ArchDaily Chrome Extension and be inspired with every new tab. Install here »

h

Nominate now the Building of the Year 2017 »

All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions
  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Skyscrapers
  4. Malaysia
  5. Cesar Pelli
  6. 1998
  7. AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli

AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli

AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli
AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli, © wikimedia commons
© wikimedia commons

© Flickr User: arjandijksma © Flickr User: einalem © wikimedia commons © Flickr User: einalem +10

From the architect. Once considered the tallest building in the world from 1998 to 2004, the Petronas Towers designed by Cesar Pelli stand as a cultural and architectural icon in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Completed in 1998, the Petronas Towers are a reflection and homage to the dominant Islamic culture of Malaysia.

© Flickr User: arjandijksma
© Flickr User: arjandijksma

The Petronas Towers have not only put Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on the architectural radar, but it evoked the richness of the country’s culture.  The towers are not simply recognized for their height, but it was Pelli’s conceptual efforts to incorporate Islamic motifs and symbols into the design process that would influence the design and the detailing of the building.

© Flickr User: einalem
© Flickr User: einalem

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. 

© Flickr User: einalem
© Flickr User: einalem

Rather than just leaving the building as a simple extrusion of a preexisting symbol found in Islamic art and culture, Pelli “scalloped” the points of the start to create a more elegant and delicate aesthetic that is found in most Islamic motifs.

drawing
drawing

As the building rises to 452 meters , it begins to taper toward the antennas that are placed on top of the towers.  The tapering is meant to stabilize the towers structurally, but it also adds an elegance and powerful position to the skyline of Kuala Lumpur.  Unlike other twin tower designs around the world that stand independently from one another, there is a skybridge that connects the two towers on the 41st and 42nd floors of each tower. 

© wikimedia commons
© wikimedia commons

The bridge connects the two towers, but it links businesses together and acts as another fire escape in the event of a fire or other incidents.  The bridge is also the highest access point for visitors to travel in the office buildings, which offers views of Kuala Lumpur.

Besides the fact that the bridge connects the two towers, the most interesting aspect about the bridge is the fact that it is not rigidly connected to either tower so that when there is severe weather and wind issues, the bridge can move independently from the towers.

© Flickr User: einalem
© Flickr User: einalem

As with most skyscrapers, the foundations are significantly deep; however, the Petronas Towers are an exaggerated example of how deep the foundations must be for such a tall building.  The Petronas Towers are placed on the world’s largest foundation that is 120 meters (approx. 400 ft) deep creating a forest of concrete footings. 

© Flickr User: einalem
© Flickr User: einalem

Due to contractor’s unwillingness to work with a steel structure the two towers are built with high strength reinforced concrete to reduce vibrations and structural strains from high winds.

© Flickr User: Georg Wittberger
© Flickr User: Georg Wittberger

Although, the Petronas Towers are no longer the tallest building in the world, they are still an architectural icon for Malaysia and has put Malaysian architecture and culture on everyone’s radar.  Even though, skyscrapers have become more advanced and have exceeded the design of the Petronas Towers, the towers remain as an early precedent in the design of super-tall buildings.

"According to Lao Tse, the reality of a hollow object is in the void and not in the walls that define it. He was speaking, of course, of spiritual realities. These are the realities also of the Petronas Towers. 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 infinite."  - Cesar Pelli

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Andrew Kroll. "AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli" 24 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/105895/ad-classics-petronas-towers-cesar-pelli/>
Read comments

19 Comments

Bruno Bellomo · July 11, 2011

AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli http://t.co/bpuo2VF vía @archdaily

FIU Solar Decathlon · February 01, 2011
dE_fOrmA · January 27, 2011

One of the most powerful skyscrapers ever built in terms of design.Love the silhouette.

germarzia · January 27, 2011

AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli | ArchDaily http://t.co/cRqLJK3 via @archdaily

Red Wolf · January 26, 2011

Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli http://goo.gl/roxc3 #architecture

Nicholas Patten · January 25, 2011

AD Classics: Petronas Towers. http://bit.ly/fUFTnt

relatively related · January 25, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli http://archdai.ly/fRwxyo #architecture

aufialwi · January 25, 2011

i think the idea of using the islamic geomtric pattern came from the prime minister,
correct me if im wrong

Wan · January 26, 2011 04:46 PM

Yes, you are right.

daqb design · January 25, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli http://archdai.ly/fRwxyo #architecture

Raul Fregoso · January 25, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli http://archdai.ly/fRwxyo #architecture

Corporate Punk · January 25, 2011

AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli: Courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsOnce considered the tallest building[s]... http://bit.ly/h5emsq

Cumar Inc · January 25, 2011

AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli | ArchDaily: http://bit.ly/g7PLXN via @addthis

Barry Maguire · January 25, 2011

AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli via ArchDaily - Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Once considered ... http://tinyurl.com/6hkm6oh

AF · January 25, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli http://archdai.ly/fRwxyo #architecture

ELS · January 25, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli http://archdai.ly/fRwxyo #architecture

Peter Newton · January 25, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli http://archdai.ly/fRwxyo #architecture

Erik Joya · January 25, 2011

AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Once considered the… http://goo.gl/fb/Guz1f

tomas olmos · January 25, 2011

An argentine genious !!! “@ArchDaily: AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli http://t.co/0CapNzL #architecture”

Mafer Baruta · January 25, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli http://archdai.ly/fRwxyo #architecture

···

Comments are closed

Read comments