The Greek-born Australian architect Nonda Katsalidis of Fender Katsalidis designed "Merdeka 118", a giant skyscraper located in the historic district of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which will become the second tallest building in the world.
The tower was built on the site where the country’s 1957 Declaration of Independence was signed. It will have a parking lot that can accommodate 8,500 cars and a 4-acre city park.
Expected to be completed by the end of 2022, Southeast Asia’s tallest observation deck is close to many pre-war historical landmarks.
The Park Hyatt Kuala Lumpur will occupy the top 17 floors of the building, which has been awarded the Green Design Platinum rating by three certification committees. It can also use mass rapid public transportation locally.
The famous architect of this building obtained a master's degree from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. In 1996, he co-founded what is now Fender Katsalidis. His earliest small projects include the Byzantine cafe and Metro Beer Hall in Carlton, Melbourne.
In 2021, Katsalidis was awarded the Australian Medal for "Important Service to Architecture and Sustainable Building Innovation".
He was born in Athens, Greece. When he was only five years old, his family left Melbourne.
He is a pioneer in combining art and architecture in urban landscapes while developing sustainable building technologies.
Fender Katsalides described the steel and glass tower as "an expression of its structural path, thus forming a triangular Malaysian art and craft pattern."
The Southeast Asia project united this Australian company with local architect RSP for tower design, GDP for retail design, and Sasaki Associates for landscape design. On October 12, 2021, the last beam called "top out" was placed, with a light on top.
According to the company's website, the lower body of the building "seems to be separated from the solid stone", "including a lower body at one end for the hotel, and at the other end an upper lobby for offices and retail stores. "
The construction of Merdeka (meaning “independent”) 118 was funded by Permodalan Nasional Berhad with a budget of 5 billion ringgits (1.2 billion US dollars). Katsaladis is committed to "finding something better" and has grown from a sole proprietorship to a company that instructs all other architects in Melbourne's practice, and has developed the company into the most respected international design company today.
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