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Merdeka 118
Photograph: Magic Orb Studio /

Phwoaar... the world’s second-tallest skyscraper has just been completed

Merdeka 118 in Kuala Lumpur is 679 metres high – double the height of the Shard or Eiffel Tower

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

There’s something really, incredibly boring about so many modern skyscrapers. They’re big. They’re pointy. They’re covered in glass. In other words, a lot of them can end up looking very, very similar.

In many ways, Merdeka 118 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is no exception. It looks like a conventional skyscraper, with all the above descriptors and little else. But there’s a twist: it’s absolutely bloomin’ massive.

Merdeka 118 stands at 679 metres tall. It’s not only the highest building in Malaysia and South-East Asia, but also the second-tallest in the world, surpassing the 632-metre-tall Shanghai Tower. The only building taller is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which is a frankly silly 828 metres high.

But what does that mean for us common down-on-the-ground folk? By comparison, you could fit two of London’s Shards into the Merdeka. You could also fit two Eiffel Towers, or seven Statues of Liberty. When we say massive, we really mean it.

Designed by Australian architecture studio Fender Katsalidis, the tower gets its name from the Malay word for independence (merdeka) and its number of floors. It looks out over the Stadium Merdeka, the site where Malaysia declared formal independence from the UK in 1957.

The skyscraper will house a hotel, a mall, lots of office space and an observation deck near the top. According to Malaysian PM Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob, the building will also be very sustainable, having earned ‘a triple-platinum rating with international sustainability certifications’.

If the Merdeka 118 sounds like your cup of tea, we wouldn’t get booking those flights to KL just yet. While the building has been completed, it won’t be open to the public until sometime much later this year.  

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