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Written by Oscar Holland, CNN
The spire of a soaring 118-story skyscraper has topped out at over 2,227 feet above Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.
Set to become the world’s second tallest building upon its completion next year, Merdeka 118 now stands higher than China’s 2,073-foot Shanghai Tower and is dwarfed only by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
At a ceremony marking the spire’s completion on Tuesday, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob described the project as an “iconic tower for the future.”
A digital rendering shows how the tower will look upon its completion in late 2022. Credit: Fender Katsalidis
Comprising 3.1 million square feet of floor space, more than half of which will be offered as offices, the tower will also house a mall, a mosque, a Park Hyatt hotel and Southeast Asia’s highest observation deck. The wider four-acre site will also contain public spaces and a park at ground level.
Set in a historic part of Kuala Lumpur, the skyscraper overlooks the Stadium Merdeka, where former leader Tunku Abdul Rahman declared Malaysian independence in 1957. Ismail Sabri, who was named prime minister in August, said on Tuesday that the sculptural design “reflects the image” of Rahman famously raising his hand to shout “merdeka!” (Malay for “independent!”) more than six decades ago.
Malysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob (center) at a ceremony marking the completion of the tower’s spire. Credit: Syaiful Redzuan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
The Australian architecture practice behind the project, Fender Katsalidis, said the triangular glass planes on the building’s facade were inspired by patterns found in Malaysian arts and crafts. The design also “symbolically (represents) the rich cultural mix that defines the people of the country,” the firm said in a press release.
In a statement, one of the company’s founding partners, Karl Fender, added that the building was designed to enrich “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 endeavor required to realize a building of this complexity,” he is quoted as saying. “Achieving this height milestone is a welcome bonus.”
Related video: A short history of the world’s tallest buildings
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