The Petronas Twin Towers, which won the 2004 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, have been described as an icon that "expresses the sophistication of contemporary Malaysian society and builds on the country's rich traditions to shape a world city".
A statement from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture Sunday said the twin towers represented a new direction in skyscraper design, featuring advanced technology while symbolising local and national aspirations.
It said the twin towers combined modern technology with a sense of cultural identity and also introduced new architectural standards to Malaysia in terms of design, construction and technology.
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established in 1997 by the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, to enhance understading and appreciation of Islamic culture as expressed through architecture.
Dr Suha Ozkan, secretary-general of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, described the twin towers as a "product of corporate authority although the decision to make those skyscrapers the tallest in the world is also in part a matter of political authority".
The jury also noted the integrated energy-conservation concept of the twin towers, which used an innovative "cool recovery" system, employing heat from exhaust air to power the cooling of outside air as it enters the building.
"The system reduces the amount of energy required to air condition the building by 50 per cent," it added.
The Petronas Twin Towers complex, which was completed in 1997 after construction began in 1993, is among seven recipients this year out of 378 projects reviewed by the jury.
The others are the Bibliotheca Alexandrina library in Alexandria, Egypt, a primary school in Gando, Burkina Faso, the restored Al-Abbas Mosque at Asnaf in Yemen, sandbag shelter prototypes at various locations in West Asia, the revitalisation of the old city of Jerusalem and the B2 House built by two brothers in Ayvacik, Turkey.
This is the fifth time that a Malaysian project has received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. The previous winners were the Tanjong Jara Beach Hotel and Rantau Abang Visitors Centre in Kuala Terengganu (1983), Menara Mesiniaga in Subang Jaya (1995), the timber house belonging to Rudin and Munira Salinger in Bangi (1998) and the Datai Hotel in Pulau Langkawi (2001). -- BERNAMA