World-renowned architect Cesar Pelli, 83, shows no sign of slowing down in his passion to design world-class structures. He has fond memories of Malaysia’s iconic Petronas Twin Towers, one of the tallest structures in the world, although it has been eight years since he last saw the building up close and personal.
You must be very proud of the Petronas Twin Towers, which has truly put Malaysia on the world map. What are your thoughts now as compared to when the project first started? – Jimmy, Kulim
I am indeed very proud of the Petronas Towers. It gives me deep pleasure to see how the towers and the whole project have been welcomed by the people of Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia. Their acceptance has been much more complete than I ever expected when I was designing them. They have become truly a symbol of the city and the country.
When did you last visit Kuala Lumpur and what is your feeling about the city’s overall skyline with the Twin Towers still very much the focus? - Ng Peng, KL
I was last in Kuala Lumpur eight years ago. But my associates are often here and bring back to me information and a great number of photographs. It is wonderful to see how the city has continued to grow and move ahead. It is now a great world-class metropolis.
What about the Twin Towers itself. Are you happy with its current state and the surrounding development? - Judy, Penang
I am delighted how well the Petronas Towers have been kept and how lovely and well used the park and the garden are now. I am also impressed with the amount and quality of the development around the towers.
You were once quoted as saying: “(There) is nothing quite so pleasurable for me as to visit my buildings when they’re finished and occupied. It is like being part of a miracle taking place.” What kind of emotions run through you each time you see the Petronas Twin Towers? Is it ever mentioned from where you come from? - Kee Cheong, Malacca
My buildings are like my children to me. I get great, deep pleasure from revisiting them and I love to hear other people talking and saying nice things about them. Fortunately people often mention, in glowing terms, the Petronas Towers.
What is the current project that you are most involved with? - Saras, PJ
I am very involved in the design of the Transbay Station and Tower in San Francisco. This is an intermodal station for buses and trains next to downtown San Francisco with a tower that will be the tallest building (320m) in the city.
What are your thoughts on green buildings? - Joan, KL
They represent the healthiest and most exciting trend in architecture today. We try to make every building we design as ecologically sustainable as possible and we have been awarded several LEED (The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum Certificates for our designs.
You have had a long and distinguished career and you are a recipient of many international awards. What is the secret of your success, and what drives you to such great passion? – Mohd Ariff, Johor
I love architecture and I have been very fortunate with good health and excellent clients.
How do you relax? - Nazrin, Alor Star
With a good book or a long walk.
Any words of advice for Malaysians on how to build great buildings? - Joseph N, Selangor
You need a committed client, design talent and great love for what you do.
What are the five top buildings that you consider the best in the world? - Jeswant, Klang
Chartres Cathedral, Hagia Sophia, Ryioan-ji, Machu Picchu and the Petronas Twin Towers.