Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bigger Is Better

I like skyscrapers, the taller the better. The Empire State Building is the grandest of them all, in my opinion. It stood as the tallest in the world for more than 40 years, an astonishing reign. The boxy Twin Towers were ugly as sin but I found comfort in their straight lines and powerful presence. Standing between the towers and looking up was an unparalleled New York experience. The Chrysler Building is as beautiful as any work of art ever created.

I hope to visit all the world's tallest structures in my lifetime, both the skyscrapers and the towers. So it follows that my visit to Kuala Lumpur would include the Petronas Towers (1,483 feet), the world's second-tallest building, and the Menara KL (1,381 feet), the fifth tallest tower on the planet.

I've wanted to visit the Petronas Towers since they were completed in the late 1990s. Like the World Trade Center, it is a complex with twin towers rising into the sky. Unlike the World Trade Center, the Petronas Towers are gorgeous. C├ęsar Pelli, an Argentinian architect, based the design on Muslim motifs, lending its surface a patterned complexity that is utterly modern while retaining very traditional elements. I don't know anyone who doesn't agree that the Petronas Towers are pleasing to the eye.

I have yet to enter the towers themselves (only limited access is granted to the footbridge between the towers every day), but I spent a very pleasant evening photographing them. Taking photos is easy when your model is so obliging.

The Menara KL (KL Tower) is rather bland when compared to its sexy cousin across town. But I think the Menara KL has its charms, rising as it does from a patch of green land in the middle of the city. I've used it as a landmark to guide me through the tangle of city streets without a map.

The design is also based on Islamic motifs. I'm no scholar of Islamic art, but instantly recognized the influence when staring up the tower head.

According to Wikipedia: "The touristic building is adorned with designs that reflect the Malaysian Islamic culture. The main lobby of the upper ground floor is decorated with exquisite glass-clad domes that sparkle like giant diamonds. These domes were designed and arranged in the form of the Muqarnas by Iranian craftsmen from Isfahan."

I could read that a hundred times, but without a few pictures it means nothing to me.

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Blogger briana said...

Love the introduction to the Towers!...and the continued travelogue.

2:47 AM  

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