In the fourth article of our Malaysia series, our writer Shonita speaks about the Petronas Twin Towers. It’s one of the places you absolutely must visit in KL!
If structural symbolism was a method to be used to define countries, then the Eiffel Tower would symbolize France, Christ the Redeemer for Brazil, the Burj Khalifa for UAE and the Taj Mahal for India. For Malaysia, the honour undoubtedly goes to the Petronas Twin Towers, lovingly called just the Twin Towers.
As I landed into KL and dropped by bags at the hotel, I was taken straight to the Twin Towers. You could say, it was my first serving in a seven-course meal, with the desert being served at the start.
At the first sight of the gleaming steel and glass façade, I was awed by its upkeep. What it must take to maintain their shiny exterior to remain spotless, is beyond my reckoning. But for someone with a fascination for architecture and a healthy respect for human dexterity, the towers do not disappoint.
Built on the site of a large turf club, the construction of these high-strength concrete towers began in the year 1992. It was undertaken as a part of a redevelopment programme to modernize Malaysia. Within 5 years, the first batch of workers of the Petronas Company (the country’s National Oil and Gas Company) moved into their new premises followed by an official launch in the year 1999.
What makes these 88-floor towers so special is that for a period of 6 years (from 1999 to 2004) they enjoyed the status of being the ‘Tallest Buildings in the World’. They have since been surpassed by a few to become the 9th tallest buildings in the world. But they still hold claim over two world titles – The tallest Twin Towers and the Highest Sky-bridge.
The designs of the buildings are influenced by motifs from Islamic Art, primarily the ‘Rub el Hizb’. Circular sectors were added on to increase office space to ultimately create the design below. These designs are often witnessed in the interiors, fixtures as well as in the designs of the solar panels installed at the lower levels.
(From L–R anti-clockwise: ‘Rub-Ek-Hizb Motif, the designing of the ground floor of the Towers, a shot of the information board at the towers and an office fixture designed in the same motif on the ground floor )
At the generosity of the Petronas Tower administration, we were taken to the 41st floor, the lower floor of the two-storey Sky-bridge, and then to the 86th Floor which is also called the Observatory Deck. The sky-bridge acts as a passageway for employees between the towers on the 42nd floor, while tourists are allowed on the floor below. It also doubles up as an emergency getaway, being separately affixed to the towers. It was in the year 1995 that the Sky-bridge was airlifted and fitted-in post the construction of the main structure.
As you go higher above, the floor space is reduced and the Observatory Deck becomes a small three-room structure to get a quaint view of the city below.
Tip: If you plan on visiting the Observatory Deck at the KL Tower, then you can forgo the one here. The view at the former provides a much more holistic panorama of the city with the towers included. . A wooden mock-up of the city highlighting the buildings is the only significant add-on when compared to the Observatory deck at the KL Tower.
The visit can be ended with a ceremonious trip to the Surya KLCC Mall located right at the foot of the tower. Here you’ll find many Luxury brands along with some local artwork. But if shopping is not your cup of tea, then use the space to while away time as you wait for the sun to set and get some picturesque night-shots of these majestic towers. It will be worth your while.