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Merdeka 118 is The World’s Second-Tallest Building

Set in a historic neighbourhood, the Merdeka 118 is the world’s second tallest building and the tallest observation deck in Southeast Asia.

Dec 06, 2021 | By Sarah Ridzwan
merdeka 118
Image: Fender Katsalidis

Merdeka 118, located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has officially topped out at 118 stories. Standing at 2,227 feet, it is set to become the world’s second-tallest building come 2022. It surpasses the 2,073-foot Shanghai Tower, and is second only to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The building was designed by Australian architects Fender Katsalidis and overlooks the Stadium Merdeka where Malaysia declared independence in 1957. The exterior evokes the look of an uncut gem and the shapes are inspired by the triangular patterns found in Malaysian art such as batik.

merdeka 118
Image: Fender Katsalidis

The building comprises 3.1 million square feet of floor space, more than half of which is dedicated to office spaces. The tower will also have a mall, a mosque, a hotel, and Southeast Asia’s tallest observation deck. The building is also linked to Kuala Lumpur‘s rail network and sits upon a four-acre water park and open public spaces at the ground level.

“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,” commented Fender Katsalidis’ founding partner Karl Fender.

Merdeka 118 under construction

The project was first announced 11 years ago and construction began in 2016, despite concerns being raised by local heritage campaigners on the impacts the skyscraper would impose on the neighbourhood. Construction was halted in 2020 when the Malaysian government introduced strict lockdown laws to combat Covid-19.

According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Kuala Lumpur is the world’s 13th tallest city — meaning it is the 13th city in the world to have the most skyscrapers. The iconic Petronas Towers were once the world’s tallest buildings between 1998 and 2004 before being dethroned by Taiwan’s Taipei 101.

Merdeka 118 will be open sometime in late 2022.

merdeka 118
Image: Fender Katsalidis

While not as tall, the new Bvlgari Hotel Paris is equally as majestic and is the latest addition to Bvlgari Hotel’s collection of hotels and resorts around the world. It features 76 types of accommodations in total and spans across 10-storeys of what used to be a corporate office. Rates start at €1,400 a night for the classic rooms and €35,000-a-night for the penthouse suite.

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