Australian Company Fender Katsalidis-designed Kuala Lumpur building tops out as world’s 2nd tallest

Merdeka 118 Night Render

Merdeka 118, a multi-storeyed tower in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has claimed the title of the world’s second-tallest building.

Designed by Australian architecture studio Fender Katsalidis, the mixed-use 118-storeyed building stands 678.9 metres tall and is a striking addition to the city’s skyline. The official topping out was marked with the completion of the spire, five years after the building’s ground-breaking ceremony.

A landmark building in the historically important precinct of Stadium Merdeka, the location where Malaysian Independence was declared in August 1957, Merdeka 118 spans over 3.1 million square feet of floor area including 1.7 million square feet of Premium Grade-A rentable office space. The tower will also house hospitality, retail and residential spaces including the Park Hyatt Kuala Lumpur and a double height observation deck, which will be the highest in Southeast Asia.

Merdeka 118 joins a portfolio of Fender Katsalidis-designed Australian skyscrapers such as Eureka Tower and Australia 108, both located in Melbourne, further affirming the studio’s reputation as one of the few global architecture practices to design mega tall buildings.

The topping out of Merdeka 118 marks a significant architectural milestone for Fender Katsalidis, says founding partner Karl Fender.

“We feel incredibly proud to have contributed to the creation of this building and its host of community assets, which enrich one of the most culturally significant sites in Malaysia. First and foremost, our priority was to respect this site and harness every opportunity to create a tower that enriched the social energy and cultural fabric of the city.

“In addition, the achievement of creating the second-tallest building in the world celebrates the years of planning, problem-solving, collaboration and human endeavour required to realise a building of this complexity. Achieving this height milestone is a welcome bonus.”

The tower’s facade takes inspiration from patterns inherent in Malaysian art and craft as well as the country’s rich culture. Overlooking Stadium Merdeka and the adjacent Stadium Negara, Merdeka 118 sits within a four-acre linear water park with associated public open spaces designed by landscape architects Sasaki from Boston.

The construction of the Merdeka 118 tower will be completed in late 2022.

Nonda Katsalidis AM is a Greek-Australian architect. He is currently a practising director of architecture firm Fender Katsalidis Architects in partnership with Karl Fender