No series on iconic glass structures would be complete without discussing Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The twin towers were classified as the tallest building in the world between 1998 and 2004, and remain the world’s tallest twin towers, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats (CTBUH).
The Petronas Towers were designed by Argentine architect Cesar Pelli. The original design for the project was conceived in 1992, and underwent significant simulation testing to ensure that it could withstand wind and other forces that would act upon the structure once it was built.
Construction of the glass and steel towers began in 1993 and continued for seven years, although tenants occupied parts of the project before construction was entirely complete. The site for the building originally hosted a racetrack. Before construction began, tests showed that about half of the site was covered in decayed limestone. The entire building site was shifted about 200 feet to ensure that the project could be built on a suitably strong foundation.
In addition to being one of the world’s tallest structures, the Petronas Towers also hold the distinction of having the world’s deepest foundations. In some areas, the building’s foundations, which rest on more than 100 concrete pilings, extend nearly 375 feet into the Earth.
The 88-floor towers are clad in glass and steel. The towers were constructed simultaneously by two different construction crews in order to meet the Malaysian government’s requirement that construction be completed within 6 years.
The towers feature nearly 600,000 square feet of laminated glass, and a two-story bridge that connects the two towers at the 41st and 42nd floors. Despite the high profile of the Petronas Towers, a considerable amount of unused space is available for lease in the second tower. The first tower is completely filled. Retail space is available on the lower levels of the towers. The upper floors of the tower are reserved for office space.
The towers also feature two-level elevators. The lower floor of each elevator stops at the towers’ even numbered floors. The upper level of the elevator car stops at the odd numbered tower floors. The towers are made available to visitors. Visitors are required to purchase tickets.
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Photo Credit: eltpics, via Flickr.com