Petronas Twin Towers: Tallest Buildings in the World

Petronas Twin TowersThe Petronas Towers can be seen towering over the skyline of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. These majestic twin towers hold the record of being the world’s tallest twin structures.

The twin towers were even considered as the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 at a height of 452 meters from the roof, including the spires of the two structures.

The Petronas Towers was designed by famed architect Cesar Pelli. The towers consisted of 88 floors that are largely constructed out of concrete. The towers also have a steel and glass facade designed to resemble motifs that are usually found in Islamic art, an indication of Malaysia’s Muslim culture.

The buildings were built with foundations that go 120 meters deep. They are considered as the world’s deepest foundations which required massive amounts of concrete to construct.

The lack of availability of steel in Malaysia and the prohibitive costs of importing them made concrete the only viable material to use. Moreover, using concrete was a cheaper option since Malaysia has enough local supplies to provide the need for the construction of the two towers.

The use of super high strength reinforced concrete is known to be even twice as effective in reducing structural sways as steel. It is also a material that Asian builders are more familiar with. With these advantages, concrete hands down became the best choice.

The twin towers are supported by 23 by 23 meter concrete cores with an outer ring of widely spaced super columns. This design allows the Petronas Towers to accommodate a more slender profile while providing from 1300 to 2000 square meters of column free office space at each floor. The two towers also feature a skyway which connects both towers at the 41st and the 42nd floors of the building.

Due to its location relative to the ground at 170 meters, the skyway is considered to be the world’s highest 2-storey bridge. The skyway is also 58 meters long. It allows people to go from one tower to another and also acts as a safety device in case of fire or any other emergency that might occur in one of the towers.

The towers also employ an elevator system that is located at the center of each of the two towers. All main elevators in the building are designed as double deckers with the lower deck taking passengers to the odd-numbered floors while the upper deck serving passengers for the even-numbered floors. Shuttle elevators are also on hand to take passengers directly to the 41/42 level, the location of the skyway.

The elevator system is also part of the safety feature of the evacuation plan for the two structures since the staircase and the skyway alone prove to be inefficient and unable to evacuate all tenants should an emergency occur on both towers.

 
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