of Kuala Lumpur is a blend of old colonial influences, Asian
traditions, Malay Islamic inspirations, modern and post modern mix.
Being a relatively young city, most of Kuala Lumpur's colonial
buildings were built toward the end of 19th and early 20th century.
These buildings have Moorish, Tudor,
Neo-Gothic or Grecian-Spanish style or architecture. Most of the
styling have been modified to cater to use local resources and the
acclimatized to the local climate, which is hot and humid all year
with the rapid economic growth from the 70's to the 90's, allows
buildings with more local and Islamic motif arise in the middle of the
city. Many of these buildings derive their design from traditional
Malay items such as the head dress and the keris. Some of these
buildings have Islamic geometric motifs integrated with the designs of
Late Modernist and
Post Modernist style architecture began to be seen in the late 90's and
early 2000s. Buildings with all glass shell appears around the city,
with the most prominent example being the Petronas
Twin Towers. As a developing city in a developing nation, the
city skyline is expected to change in decades to come with construction
works like The Gardens, The Pavilion, Four Seasons Place, Lot C of KLCC and many more.
Building with Neo
Moorish or Mughal architecture
were built at the turn of the 20th century by the colonial power, Great
Britain. While most of the buildings with such architecture are in
Dataran Merdeka, there are some in Chinatown such as the Jamek Mosque
and in Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, such as the KTM railway station and
the KTM Administration Office. Famous buildings in the neo-Moorish
style includes Sultan Abdul Samad Building, the Court of Appeals and
the old Kuala Lumpur High Court. All the buildings mention before are
within the Dataran Merdeka area. Other buildings with Moorish
architecture are Bandaraya Theatre, InfoKraft (Textile Museum), Kuala
Lumpur Memorial Library, National History Museum and the old Sessions
and Magistrates Courts before it was moved to Jalan Duta.
Night view of Sultan
Abdul Samad Building
Corner view of Sultan
Abdul Samad Building
Tudor & Victorian
There are many
buildings built by the British at
the turn of the 20th century that spots Victorian and Tudor influence
in their designs. The building are modified to acclimatize with the
tropical environment of Malaysia, which is hot and humid with many days
of monsoon rain.
architecture is the feature of two sporting clubs situated in Dataran
Merdeka, the Royal Selangor Club and the Selangor
Chinese Club. The buildings were built in 1910 and 1929
respectively. The architectural style, which features large exposed
wooden beams in half-timbered walls, was the typical model for some of
the earliest social club buildings in the country.
architecture exists in religious
building built by the colonial powers such as the St. Mary's Cathedral,
St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church , Church of the Holy Rosary and St.
John's Church which is converted into Bukit Nanas Community Center.
However, some residence such as Carcosa Seri Negara, which was built in
1897 for Frank Swettenham also features this style of architecture.
architecture is also a popular choice
for the colonial powers to build school which such examples like
Victoria Institution, Methodist Boys’ School and Convent Bukit Nanas.
Other examples of building with this kind of architecture include the
Central Market, National Art Gallery, Malaysia Tourism Center,
Industrial Court Building, The Mansem, PAM Center (housing the
Malaysian Institute of Architects) and Coliseum Theater.
St. Mary's Cathedral,
King's House at
Carcosa Seri Negara
Prior to the Second
World War, many shophouses,
usually two story with functional shops on the ground floor and
separate residential spaces upstairs, were built around the old city
center. These shop-houses drew inspiration from Straits Chinese and
in Some of these shop-houses have made way for new developments but
there are still many standing today around Medan Pasar (Old Market
Square), Chinatown, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Doraisamy, Bukit
Bintang and Tengkat Tong Shin areas.St. John’s InstitutionBukit Nanas
is famous of its imposing white and red brick building with emphasis on
Grecian-Spanish style of architecture. The Telecom Museum, which was
built in 1928 also sports the influence.
Boy's branch of
St John's Institution
on Bukit Nanas.
Shop houses in
Facade of the
Eng Choon Assembly
Hall built in 1930
on Jalan Ampang.
Kuala Lumpur today
has many iconic modern
buildings which drew inspiration from every day traditional Malay
items. The buildings were constructed in the 1980s and 1990s. An
example of this style of architecture is the LUTH (Pilgrims Fund Board)
building which is derived from the form of a Malay drum, Telekom Tower
which resembles a slanted cut of a bamboo trunk and Maybank Tower, whose design was inspired by
the sheath of the keris, the
traditional Malay dagger. The buildings were designed by the same
architect, Hijjas Kasturi. Istana Budaya is another example of this
type of architecture, in which the building is designed based on a
Minangkabau head dress. The National Library which is situated besides
Istana Budaya also is inspired by the Malay Head Dress.
The National Library
With Islam being the
official religion of Malaysia
since independence, there are may Islamic architecture featured
buildings that resides in Kuala Lumpur. Buildings like the Dayabumi
Complex, and Islamic Center have Islamic geometric motifs on their
structure, signifying Islamic restriction on drawing nature. Some
buildings such as the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia and National
Planetarium have been built to masquerade itself as a place of worship,
complete with dome and minaret, when in fact is a place of science and
knowledge. Naturally, Islamic motif are evident in religious structure
such as Masjid Wilayah and Masjid Negara. Religious places will have
more Arabic calligraphy drawn on the
columns and other places on the structure.
Kuala Lumpur Tower
A mosque near
KL Monorail's Hang Tuah station
Kuala Lumpur’s central
business district today has
shifted around the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC) where many new and
tall buildings with Late Modernism and Postmodern architecture fill the
skyline. The 452 meter Petronas Twin Towers,
designed by César Pelli, when seen from above, resembles the Islamic
geometric motifs. While looking from street level, the all-glass shell
of the building gives a post-modern take on the more traditional motif.
The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, next door to the towers follows the
same theme. The convention center will have the shape of an eagle if
viewed from above, while the all-glass shell of the building gives a
more post-modern look.
Towers, night view
As a developing city
and a part of a developing
nation, there are many construction projects that are currently being
built that will change the city's skyline in the near future. Some of
the construction project are The Pavilion , The Gardens ,
Four Seasons Center 
and Lot C of KLCC.
A lot of the new development has come at the cost of old existing
structures. The destruction of the heritage has created controversy,
such as the recent destruction of the colonial-era mansion Bok House on
Jalan Ampang in 2006 to make way for a 60-story office tower
A panoramic view of
Kuala Lumpur from Cheras
A perspective of
Kuala Lumpur from Setapak showing the skyscrapers that dominate the