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Merdeka 118 under construction
World's second-tallest skyscraper Merdeka 118 tops out in Malaysia

World's second-tallest skyscraper Merdeka 118 tops out in Malaysia

The 678.9-metre-tall Merdeka 118 skyscraper designed by Australian studio Fender Katsalidis has topped out in Malaysia, becoming the world's second-tallest building.

Located in downtown Kuala Lumpur, the 118-storey megatall skyscraper reached its full height with the completion of its pointed spire.

Render of Merdeka 118 skyscraper
Merdeka 118 skyscraper has topped out in Malaysia

Merdeka 118 steals the title of the world's second-tallest building from the Shanghai Tower, which was designed by Gensler in China with a height of 632 metres.

The title of the world's tallest building is held by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which measures 828 metres in height. It was designed by architect Adrian Smith while at SOM.

Night render of Merdeka 118 skyscraper
The skyscraper overlooks ​​Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur

Fender Katsalidis began construction of Merdeka 118 in 2016 on a site overlooking ​​Stadium Merdeka, a historically significant site built for Malaysia's declaration of independence in 1957.

The building is expected to reach completion in late 2022.

"We feel incredibly proud to have contributed to the creation of this building and its host of community assets which enrich one of the most culturally significant sites in Malaysia," said Fender Katsalidis' co-founder Karl Fender.

"First and foremost, our priority was to respect this site and harness every opportunity to create a tower that enriched the social energy and cultural fabric of the city."

At 678.9 metres, the skyscraper is classed by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat as a megatall – a building that is over 600 metres in height.

It features a faceted facade composed of triangular glass planes, which Fender Katsalidis said is modelled on patterns found in Malaysian art and craft.

Inside, the building encompasses more than 288,000 square metres of floor area and contains 158,000 square metres of rentable office space.

Alongside offices, the supertall skyscraper will also feature various hospitality, retail, and residential facilities with the aim of becoming a major tourist destination.

A render of Merdeka 118
The building is the second tallest skyscraper in the world

Among the public facilities will be a hotel and a double-height observation deck, which is expected to be the highest in Southeast Asia.

Merdeka 118 is complete with a 1.6-hectare recreational water park at its base designed by Boston-based landscape architect Sasaki. This landscape is car-free and designed for use by people of all ages and backgrounds.

"This building and its surrounding precinct has added an aspirational sense of new place to the city's identity, and has at the same time enabled much-needed major improvement to the pedestrian and traffic infrastructure of the area," added Fender.

Merdeka 118 has been completed by Fender Katsalidis in collaboration with local architectural firms of RSP and GDP and engineering firms Robert Bird Group and LERA.

Fender Katsalidis is an architecture studio founded in Melbourne in 1996 by Karl Fender and Nonda Katsalidis. The studio also recently complete the southern hemisphere's tallest residential skyscraper, which is punctuated by a cantilevered golden star.

Other upcoming supertall skyscrapers – buildings over 300 metres – include The Spiral in New York by BIG, Tower C in Shenzhen by Zaha Hadid Architects and 1200 Bay Street in Toronto by Herzog & de Meuron.

The photo and renders are courtesy of Fender Katsalidis.