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World’s second tallest tower tops out in Kuala Lumpur

The atrium is intended to look as though it was “cleft from stone” (courtesy of Fender Katsalidis)
The world’s second tallest building, the Merdeka PNB 118 tower in Kuala Lumpur, has topped out at 678m after a five-year construction period.

The building was designed by Melbourne architect Fender Katsalidis for developer PNB Merdeka and built by Turner Construction, the US subsidiary of Spain’s ACS.

When completed next year, the 350,000-sq-m building will combine a hotel, offices, apartments and shops.

The exterior is based on triangular patterns of glass, reminiscent of traditional Malaysian arts and crafts, which gives it a crystalline appearance. This look is reproduced in the tower’s atrium, which continues the triangular motif.  

The decorative spire adds 12m to the tower’s height (courtesy of Fender Katsalidis)

The official height of the building is measured from the top of its 35m spire. The main roof is actually 644m high which is still 12m taller than Gensler’s Shanghai Tower, the previous holder of the second highest building title behind the 828m Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The tower is located on a 7.7ha site and overtops the Stadium Merdeka, which was built for Malaysia’s Declaration of Independence in 1957.

Karl Fender, founding partner of Fender Katsalidis, commented: “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.”

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