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Petronas Twin Towers
The Petronas Twin Towers were built as a monument that announced Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to the world as a commercial and cultural capital. The idea behind the function of the Towers was that one would house the national petroleum corporation, Petronas; while the other would be the site of a six-story shopping mall, the Malaysian Philharmonic, the offices of companies tied to Petronas, and apartments for people that worked in the towers. However, constructing something that would serve these functions, while encompassing the Maylasian culture, would prove to be a tremendous challenge with many architectural and constructional firsts.
The former Dean of Yale University’s School of Architecture, Cesar Pelli, (whose works include the Canary Wharf in London and Carnegie Hall Tower in New York City), was deemed the most qualified for the job. Even this architectural expert struggled in accomplishing this complicated task. Pelli’s designs were rejected several times because the Prime Minister did not think they were ‘Maylasian’ enough. The Prime Minister decided to put his own ideas down on paper, coming up with the two interlocking squares design, which would incorporate the traditional Islamic eight-pointed star. However, his design took up much needed floor space for meeting the functional requirements. So, in an effort to please all parties involved, Pelli added semi-circle scallops to the Prime Minister’s design. These scallops later came to signify Asian temples. Finally, eight months into the design phase of the project, they had a blueprint. It was now up to Structural Engineer Charlie Thornton to make this dream a reality.
Despite popular belief, the towers were not initially intended to be the world’s tallest buildings. It was at the start of the construction phase that Mr. Thornton realized that if the buildings were 15 meters taller, they would overtake the Sears Towers and claim this world record. This prospect was very...