The one structure which truly dominates Kuala Lumpur is the gleaming twin-towered Petronas Towers, the world’s tallest building. It’s sleek, sophisticated and totally twenty-first century- and way up there on Kuala Lumpur’s sights-to-see. Okay, my husband and I are more into museums, historical monuments and local bazaars- `culture vultures’ as a very highbrow friend had once deprecatingly told us not to describe her; but we couldn’t possibly leave KL without checking out the Towers, could we?
So off we went, one warm morning, taking the local Putra LRT train to KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre), from where Petronas is a hop, skip and jump away. Every morning, 8.30 onwards, 1,300 free visitor passes are given out to go up to the skybridge at Petronas, and we managed to get a pair- for a 12 o’clock visit, which was just a few minutes after we reached the building.
The Petronas Towers, inaugurated in 1999, soar to 452 mt. The buildings were designed by an Argentinian architect (Cesar Pelli) for an American architectural firm, one tower being built by a Japanese construction firm, the other by a South Korean one (that takes some beating when it comes to being truly global!). The entire structure’s made of glass, steel and reinforced `superconcrete’ which allows the towers to sway as much as 10 inches in strong wind conditions. One tower’s occupied by the Malaysian petroleum company, Petronas; the other houses mega multinational companies such as Boeing, Alcatel, Reuters, GE, and others.
The tower’s design- of interlocked squares, with alternate corners angular and rounded- is carried through the entire building. As soon as you enter the lobby, you’ll see it: in the flooring and the chandeliers, and of course later when you whiz up to the skybridge and look down between the towers. Silvery and gleaming, it’s all very impressive.
Our trip to the skybridge wasn’t very long- 1,300 visitors in the space of a few hours means you don’t get much time to loiter about at your own pace. Anyway, the 10 minutes we got were fairly sufficient. We were zoomed up in a special lift (which travels at the rate of 1 floor per second) to the skybridge on the 41st floor, where we were allowed to take as many photographs as we wanted while a guide explained the basics of the building. The view from the skybridge, even though it’s not from the top of the Towers, is spectacular- you can see all across the city below, and beyond too. Fabulous!