The world’s second tallest skyscraper, named Merdeka 118, has just been commissioned. At 678.9 metres high, the skyscraper stood in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Currently, the high-rise is second in height only to Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa, which measures 828 metres high.
Merdeka 118 – The second tallest skyscraper in the world
Merdeka 118 is also known as Menara Warisan Merdeka or as the abbreviation KL118, created from the first letters of the city of Kuala Lumpur and the number of floors of the skyscraper, of which there are 118. The word “merdeka” in Malay means “independence”, so the full name of the skyscraper can be translated as “Independence Heritage Tower”.
The skyscraper, which occupied a nearly 8 hectare plot of land in the central part of the Malaysian capital, was completed in late 2023, but has only now been commissioned. The colossus took nine years to build. The first construction work started in 2014. Seven years later, in 2021, the skyscraper reached its target height becoming the tallest building in the country and in all of Southeast Asia, and the second tallest structure in the world. The investor who built the structure is Malaysian investment fund Permodalan Nasional Berhad. The cost of construction is estimated at more than 4 billion zlotys (approximately US$1 billion).
Merdeka 118 will also be one of the greenest facilities in the world. It is the first building in Malaysia to achieve triple platinum LEED certification, which signifies that the owner of the facility has made every effort and is knowledgeable in green construction and building use. This is very significant as the facility now offers more than 400,000 square metres of usable space.
What will be housed in Merdeka 118?
The building will combine various functions. It can be said that the skyscraper will be a self-sufficient city within a city. It will house offices, of which there will be a relatively large number, but also private flats, hotels, a restaurant, a shopping and entertainment centre, as well as administrative offices. On the top 118th floor of the skyscraper, a VIP Club has been created with views of the city. The building will also include a gigantic car park capable of accommodating 8,500 cars. It is worth mentioning here that 60 of the 80 office floors will be occupied by the developer itself, Permodalan Nasional Berhad.
Merdeka 118 skyscraper – design and aesthetics
The building was designed in a futuristic style by architects from the Fender Katsalidis studio. The building is clad in a mosaic of glass facades in the shape of rhombuses to signify the diversity of Malaysians. The design was made to resemble the gesture of Tunku Abdul Rahman’s outstretched hand while chanting “Merdeka!” or “Independence!” when he declared Malaysia’s independence on 31 August 1957.
The cladding of the building consists of 18,144 panels, covering 114,000 square metres and 1,600 tonnes of window frame embossing. The structural engineers are Leslie E. Robertson Associates and Robert Bird Group, and the structural and structural engineer for the high-rise is Arup. The building will be fitted out and illuminated at night with 8.4km of LED light strips that will gradually move from one corner to the other.
Our subjective assessment of the skyscraper from an aesthetic point of view is rather negative. The skyscraper, or rather its massing, seems somewhat chaotic and clumsy. It is nowhere near the slender and tapering towards the sky of the Burj Khalifa. This is, of course, our assessment, which you don’t have to agree with. We would be happy to hear your views on the matter:
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