Posted by: facetothewind | January 11, 2014

It’s hard to be down when you’re up

images“It’s Hard to Be Down When You’re Up” was the slogan on a poster that hung on my bedroom wall for most of my teen years. It was printed with a fish eye view from the top of the World Trade Towers in New York. When I see them now, all I think of is the attacks that changed the world. But if you think back before that, what did you think of them? Personally I thought they were just plain ugly. Boring. Two monoliths side by side with nothing appealing other than their sheer towering height of 102 stories. Nonetheless, I was spellbound by their height. We went there on a family vacation in 1978 and I got that poster in the gift shop. I was so proud to have been to the top of the world’s tallest buildings. Years later I worked in the south tower as a temporary office worker in a law firm. It was so exciting to me as a 21 year old to ride up to the 82nd floor or was it the 91st? It was damn high and it had a view of that famous green statue holding her torch at the harbor’s entrance. Liberty, I think her name is. Yeah we kind of forgot about liberty after the towers came down. ANYWAY. Years after the shock (and awe) of losing those towers, I reflected on the event. And I thought, you know, the biggest loss of 9/11 wasn’t really an architectural one. New York’s skyline, in my opinion, is better off without those dull slabs of glass and concrete that were out of scale and lacking in imagination. The “Freedom Tower” is a much more attractive addition to lower Manhattan than the WTC Towers were.

Today I got to indulge my architectural fetish with another set of twin towers. After the WTC’s demise, at 88 stories the Petronas Towers are now the tallest twin towers in the world. And they’re gorgeous!

David Gilmore Petronas Towers 5

I’ve always admired them and never even knew where the hell Kuala Lumpur was and why would some place I can’t even say have such riveting architectural wonders? Odd that I found myself at the top of it today. It was a lofty experience! It starts out with an informative video projected onto a smoke screen (literally) that is blown from one side of a hallway and received on the other side.

David Gilmore Petronas Towers 4

Then you take an elevator half way up the building to the sky bridge that loosely connects the two towers. I say loosely b/c it’s actually on rollers and with room on each side for the towers to sway without causing the bridge to drop. Goody goody. I like when a 750 ton bridge that I’m standing on is resting on wheels and designed not to fall if one of the buildings sway. If? They do.

David Gilmore Petronas Towers 6

The buildings are KL’s signature skyscraper and other than the Burj Khaliffa, I think it’s the most attractive pair of skyscrapers standing. They capture the essence of an Asian Muslim country seeking to present itself to the world as a developed nation.

David Gilmore Petronas Towers 1

They were designed by Argentinian architect Cesár Pelli and finished in 1998. They are faced in aluminum and stand 1,232 feet and were in fact the tallest buildings in the world for several years.

David Gilmore Petronas Towers 3

I always have fun photographing people photographing something.

David Gilmore Petronas Towers 2

Thought the shadow was kind of funny. Who is right at the tip of it?

David Gilmore Petronas Towers 7

The super fast elevators whisked us to the ground with hardly any feeling of movement. They project a video on the sides of the elevator that depicts what it would look like if we were in a glass elevator. It’s an amazing effect. The whole experience costs 80 Malaysian Ringit ($26 USD) unless you get your friend you just met on Grindr (who works there) to get you a discount. Nice to have friends in high places.

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