Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, is a city rich in both traditional and contemporary architecture. Focusing mainly on contemporary examples, the works on this list allow you to understand the city in many ways with the differences in the times it was built. The list includes popular projects like Cesar Pelli’s Petronas Tower, MVRDV‘s store project, as well as projects that you may encounter while walking on the street. Among these contemporary buildings, on the other hand, we recommend seeing the architecture of culturally rich city temples.

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If you are ready, let’s start the 15 Places Architects must visit in Kuala Lumpur:

1. Petronas Tower- Cesar Pelli

Designed by Cesar Pelli, Petronas Tower is known as the tallest building in the world from 1998 when it was built to 2004. Pelli uses Rub-el Hizb, an Islamic motif, as a planning scheme and is obtained by extruding this motif. The 452-meter high twin towers are connected on the 41st and 42nd floor of the bridge. The bridge that provides the connection works separately from the towers in a structural sense. In this way, it can be used in disaster situations such as fire and is not affected by the wind.

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Petronas Towers ©www.archdaily.com
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Petronas Towers ©www.archdaily.com
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Petronas Towers ©www.archdaily.com

 2. StarhilllGallery- Spark Architects

Starhill Gallery, designed by Spark Architects, famous for Clarke Quay design in Singapore, is one of the most iconic shopping centers in Kuala Lumpur. Crystal and continuous-looking facades are made out of the glass and stone panels. Besides its dynamic movement through the façade, it strengthens its contribution to publicity along the street with the transparency provided by the material on the façade. With such a formal stance, it is one of the most memorable structures in Kuala Lumpur.

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Starhill Gallery ©www.archdaily.com
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The interiors Of Starhill Gallery©www.archdaily.com
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The lanes that are formed amidst the organic form©www.archdaily.com

3. The Capers- RT+Q Architects

The project is designed with inspiration from al lalang ’herbs while settling into its flat and parks position. As a mixed residential building, it consists of 500 units of mid-cost housing and a series of office and commercial blocks. Also, towers are oriented with views towards Batu Caves to the north and the Petronas Twin Towers to the south.

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The dynamic forms ©The Capers
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The dynamic forms ©The Capers

4. Alice Smith School Jalan Bellamy-iP.LCW + MvS Architects

Mvs Architects and iPartnership collaborate to provide the school with the facilities it needs while seeking an architectural language that fits the vision of the school. The design, which is considered to be critical about environmental factors, protects the tropical climate from the hot sun with the bending of the façade and the shading of the sporting area. In addition to this, the shade of the tree on the green roof is also intended to remain to build cool. The panels on the facades are made of GRC panels which produce a very energetic and powerful image on the entire façade of the building by just 3 different size panels used.

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The colorful facade of Alice Smith School Jalan Bellamy©www.archdaily.com
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The colorful facade of Alice Smith School Jalan Bellamy©www.archdaily.com
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The colorful ceiling of Alice Smith School Jalan Bellamy adds a dynamicity to the spaces©www.archdaily.com
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Alice Smith School Jalan Bellamy©www.archdaily.com

5. The Bamboo Playhouse / Eleena Jamil Architect

The Bamboo Playhouse is located in the Perdana Botanical Gardens, the most picturesque park of Kuala Lumpur. The design, which consists of raising square platforms situated on the edge of the lake, is made important by being one of the few examples produced using bamboo in Malaysia. The bamboo structure rising from the middle of the square platforms in the park reminds the tree and offers resting areas with the shade that occurred under it.

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The scenic location of The Bamboo Playhouse©www.archdaily.com
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The interactive spaces of The Bamboo Playhouse©www.archdaily.com
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The scenic location of The Bamboo Playhouse©www.archdaily.com
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The scenic location of The Bamboo Playhouse©www.archdaily.com

6. Industrial Estate Gallery- CarverHaggard

Designed by the London-based CarverHaggard group, the building is located in the Kuala Lumpur industrial area and offers exhibits both indoors and outdoors. Despite other structures in the list, it is one of the examples of modern architecture in the city with its plain existence. The gallery consists of separate volumes within a semi-permeable enclosure.

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Industrial Estate Gallery©www.archdaily.com
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Industrial Estate Gallery©www.archdaily.com

7. Bulgari Kuala Lumpur / MVRDV

In the design of MVRDV, it is stated vital about design that the brand cares about the heritage, also about its contemporary stance. The facade, made of cement and resin, creates an elegant marble look and offers unusual images with the leaked light between them. The warm amber appearance of the veins can be seen during the day, but the night view is more accentuated.

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Bulgari ©www.mvrdv.nl

8. Planter Box House / Formzero

Planter box is a project in which 3-story concrete blocks stacked on top of each other are almost invisible by the plants that grow inside them. It provides the opportunity to grow over 40 edible plants with its cascading structure. Also, it celebrates sustainable living and self-sufficiency by prioritizing light and natural ventilation.

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Planter Box House ©www.dezeen.com
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Planter Box House ©www.dezeen.com
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Planter Box House ©www.dezeen.com
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Planter Box House ©www.dezeen.com

9. Sri Mahamariamman Temple

Sri Mahhamariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu Temple in Kuala Lumpur. It was built in 1873 when it was known as MariammanKovil or Kling Chapel, and a new structure was added in 1968. The temple is a place of worship for early Indian immigrants and is now an important cultural heritage. When you visit, pay close attention to the ornate and elaborate detailing on the temple’s interior and exterior.

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Sri Mahamariamman Temple ©www.wonderfulmalaysia.com
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Sri Mahamariamman Temple ©www.wonderfulmalaysia.com

10. Masjid Jamek Mosque

The Jamek Mosque, built-in 1909, is the oldest mosque in the city. The mosque is located at the meeting point of the rivers Klang and Gombak, the birthplace of Kuala Lumpur. The design of the mosque has been described as Moorish, Indo-Saracenic, or Mughal architecture. The mosque has 3 domes and 2 main minarets among other smaller ones; the pattern of pink and white banding of the minarets, formed of brick and plaster, has been described as “blood and bandage”.

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Masjid Jamek Mosque ©www.kuala-lumpur.ws
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Masjid Jamek Mosque ©www.kuala-lumpur.ws
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Masjid Jamek Mosque ©www.kuala-lumpur.ws

11.  Batu Caves

Batu Caves is located 15 km north of Kuala Lumpur and is the largest Hindu cave temple in the world. The 43-meter-high statue of Lord Murugan, the second largest statue of Hindus, rises in front of the Batu Cave. Batu Temple Cave is the most visited section with a ceiling height of 100 meters. There can be seen numerous places of worship, decorations, and depictions of legends.

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Batu Caves ©www.yoldaolmak.com

12. 1 Mont’ Kiara Retail Mall

Designed by SPARCH and aiming to stand out from other examples, the shopping center creates a “friendly” atmosphere with the color and texture it uses. The atrium of the shopping center receives light from a steel shell supporting an ETFE pillow roof to pixelated ‘floral’ floor surface. Also, the hibiscus flower, on the pixelated abstract image, is used as a device to guide shoppers into the atrium and identifies zones for events and displays.

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Mont’ Kiara Retail Mall ©www.archdaily.com
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Mont’ Kiara Retail Mall ©www.archdaily.com

 13. Mantab Workplace / S/LAB10

Located on a quiet street in Kuala Lumpur, the real estate office combines with a lively street. The golden folded façade is also a hint of the energetic inside. In addition to the directors’ offices, there are display galleries and leisure spaces for clients. The interior design projects are based on “intentional mismatches” themes with contrasting colors, textures, and materials.

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Mantab Workplace ©www.dezeen.com
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Mantab Workplace ©www.dezeen.com
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Mantab Workplace ©www.dezeen.com

14. Thean Hou Temple

The Thean Hou Temple is a temple of the Chinese sea goddess Mazu. The six-tiered temple was completed in 1987. It represents a successful combination of modern architectural techniques and authentic traditional design featuring imposing pillars, spectacular roofs, ornate carvings, and intricate embellishments.

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Thean Hou Temple ©www.kuala-lumpur.ws
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Thean Hou Temple ©www.kuala-lumpur.ws

15. Thean Hou Temple  / Mohammad KamarYa’akub

The Istana Budaya is Malaysia’s main venue for all types of theatre. It was based on some Malay cultural aspects. Seen from above, the complex shape derives from cuts and placement of a traditional kite moon flight, also recalls a gigantic piece of origami.

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Thean Hou Temple / Mohammad KamarYa’akub ©www.kuala-lumpur.ws
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Thean Hou Temple / Mohammad KamarYa’akub ©www.kuala-lumpur.ws
Author

Şengül Has is an architect from Istanbul, Turkey. Alternative practices that require looking at architecture from unusual aspects are of high interest to her. She has degrees from competitions and she continues her researches on relations of architecture and media.

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