Petronas Twin Towers

Design & Structure

World's Tallest Twin Building

The twin towers were originally proposed to be built at a height of only 1400 feet (427m). Thankfully, Dr Mahathir saw greater potential in the building as the world's tallest structures, and pressed architects and engineers to include a few more meters in height, in every way possible. To meet his ambitions, many structural facts were recalculated and retested in wind tunnels. This has resulted in the addition of a dome with an integrated pinnacle atop of the towers - successfully reaching 1483 feet (452m) tall, surpassing the Sears Tower in the USA.


Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur


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The interior motifs are designed to resemble Malaysia’s local handicrafts and weaving patterns, with a stunning combination of stainless steel and glass finishing on the building to form beautiful Islamic patterns. The design of each tower floor plate is based on simple Islamic geometric forms of two interlocking squares, creating a shape of an eight-pointed star. Architecturally, these forms represent the important Islamic principles of unity, harmony, stability and rationality.

Islamic Patterns ; Rub El Hizb

The towers were designed by a renowned Argentine architect - César Pelli. The first design fell just a bit short of The 4th & 7th Prime Minister Mahathir's satisfaction, as he felt that there was more room to insert something uniquely Malaysian in the design. He wanted a building that would be identifiably Malaysian, was of world class standard, and which Malaysians will inevitably be proud of. Through a series of edits, eventually, the The 4th & 7th Prime Minister understood what he wanted the towers to resemble; an eight-pointed star (when seen from the top), which represents unity, harmony, stability, and rationality in the Islamic cultures.

One concern Pelli had for the new design is the limited floor space. To overcome this concern, he added semicircles to each of the inner angles. Each tower now has a total of 43,600 square yards (36,455 m2) of floor space, including an additional circular annex referred to as ‘bustle’, standing 44 stories high.


Both towers are 'intelligent' structures, built with a system that seamlessly and simultaneously coordinates telecommunications, environment control, power supply, lighting, fire and smoke control, and building security.


Each tower is 88 storeys high with 5 underground levels for car park and mechanical services.

452 Meters

Each tower measures 452m in height - from ground to tip which - and is the equivalent of 1,483 ft.

600k Tonnes

Each tower weighs 300,000 tonnes which is equivalent to about 42,857 adult elephants.

395,000 sqm

The towers have 395,000m² build-up area, with 213,750m² free space for use and 186,000m² annexes.


The construction of PETRONAS Twin Towers took 6 years and costed the country a fortune of over RM 6 billion (USD $1.6 billion) to complete. Built with 899,000 ft² of stainless-steel extrusions, the building was surprisingly void of heat and UV rays, thanks to the addition of 590,000 ft² of lamination glass over the surface of the skyscraper which would require 2 whole months just to clean each and every single glass panel!

6 Years

Took 6 years of construction from foundation until opening

USD $1.6 billion

Costed USD $1.6 billion to erect both towers

World's Largest Foundation

Skyscrapers need strong, deep foundations that penetrate into the ground below. Given the tremendous height of the towers, the PETRONAS Twin Towers have a ground-breaking 120 meters (approx. 400 ft.) of solid foundation underneath its dense concrete footings.

12 Months

Foundations were completed within 12 months by Bachy Soletanche

120 Meters

120 m (400 ft) deep under the ground


PETRONAS Twin Towers include 29 double-decker high-speed passenger lifts, six heavy-duty service lifts and four executive lifts. Each passenger deck can carry up to 52 people total, while the executive lifts can carry about ten. The speeds of these elevators vary is between 3.5m/s and 6.0 m/s, depending on the zones they are servicing.


Each Tower is set back five times in its ascent to maintain the vertical axis and tapering of the design. The walls of the uppermost floors are also sloped inward to taper and meet the pinnacle. Vision Glass, specialised panels with light filtering and noise reduction properties, provide a comfortable inner environment. The glass is covered by stainless steel visors to further protect visitors from the tropical sun.


The designs and patterns that line the entrance halls' foyer reflect Malaysia’s traditional handicrafts and 'songket', or weaving. The wall panels and screens are also inspired by hardwood carvings from the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The floor designs are based on intricate motifs of 'pandan' weavings and 'bertam' palm wall mattings.


These structures house aircraft warning lights and external maintenance building equipment. Each pinnacle features a spire with 23 segments, and a ring ball comprised of 14 rings of varying diameters.

Observation Deck

The observation decks in Petronas Twin Towers are located at Level 86 of both towers. The deck allows visitors to enjoy the a spectacular view of the cityscape from above 370 meters. Visitors will also get to discover the history of the twin towers in detail through digital displays and exhibition.

86th Floor

Located on 86th floor, the second highest level of the twin towers.

370 Meters

Superior bird’s-eye view from 370 meters above the ground.

Sky Bridge

Weighing 750 tons, the double-decker skybridge acts as the connector between the two towers on the Level 41 and 42. Interestingly, the skybridge is not fully attached to the main building - engineers deliberately designed the skybridge this way to give allowance for small movements during high winds and other unpleasant weathers. This prevents the bridge from breaking away from the towers. The bridge measures 170m (558 ft) above the ground and 58.4m (192 ft) long.

58.4 Meters

58.4 m (192 ft) long

170 Meters

170 m (558 ft) high above the ground