Purpose-built for Malaysia’s declaration of independence in 1957, Kuala Lumpur’s Stadium Merdeka is a place of profound national significance; a status celebrated by its selection as the locale for a new Malaysian landmark – the 600 metre tall Merdeka 118 tower.
The centrepiece of a 6.35-hectare scheme integrating 147,000sqm of domed retail space, multiple high-rise apartment buildings and an MRT underground station, this 118-storey mixed-use tower accommodates 16,000 office workers over 50,000sqm, a six-star Park Hyatt hotel, rooftop restaurant, and two-level 360° observation deck accessed via double-storey, external glass elevators on the building’s north facade.
Diamond in plan, Merdeka 118 is sited on axis with neighbouring Stadium Negara to the east, and a new lineal park to the west of Stadium Merdeka, designed by Sasaki Associates; the latter providing both a concourse for stadium attendees and formal access to the tower’s upper lobby level.
By articulating the tower’s structural pathways with a combination of differentiated glazing and internal illumination, its crystalline form reveals itself, day and night, as a unified composition of disparate facets, patterns and textures. As such, it is both a metaphor for the myriad states, territories, ethnicities and cultures that comprise the Malaysian nation, and referential to the designs of its traditional arts and crafts.
The design language of the tower element carries through to the podium exterior and the dual lobby levels of its interior. Lit via dramatic skylighting, the immense volumes of these lobbies appear as if carved from solid travertine; the lower, to the north, connecting via escalators to the larger, more formal organising space to the south, notable for its soaring, 35-storey atrium.
Completing a triumvirate of super tall urban markers with Petronas Twin Towers and Kuala Lumpur Tower, Merdeka 118 has also proven a catalyst for major infrastructure improvements and much-needed urban renewal.
Construction for the tower has commenced, with completion estimated for 2023.