In a world with Jumbo jets, microchips and artificial hearts, architecture had appeared to have lost its wonder, but with the building of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, now the tallest buildings on earth, this has changed and their construction has rightly restored architecture as a world wonder. It is not just because the towers are the tallest that they can make this claim. Their design by Cesar Pelli also reflects a melding of East and West.
The towers embody the great spirit born of the American mid-West and now found all over the world. They also reflect the latest technology in making tall buildings, with modern materials such as stainless steel cladding which makes their spires glisten on the horizon.
The design of the Petronas Towers began with an international design competition. In June 1991, eight firms were invited to participate. The architects were asked to provide a general plan for the Kuala Lumpur City Centre and a more detailed design for two towers to be occupied by Petronas, the national petroleum company of Malaysia. The Petronas Towers were expected to define a gateway, “a place that people can identify as unique to Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia.” It was never discussed that the towers should become the tallest buildings in the world, only that they be beautiful.