A night view of Merdeka 118 in the KL skyline; A night view of Merdeka 118 in the KL skyline;

Merdeka 118, Kuala Lumpur

Set to be one of the world’s tallest buildings

Merdeka 118 tower, in Kuala Lumpur, will rank as the second-tallest building in the world and the tallest in Southeast Asia upon completion in 2022. It stands at a height of 678.9 metres, with a multi-faceted diamond-shaped façade and unique spire design. Its form was inspired by the outstretched hand gesture made by Malaysia’s first Prime Minister in 1957, when he declared the nation's independence in Stadium Merdeka, which is part of the Merdeka 118 precinct.  Arup, as the civil and structural engineer of record, is working with the local firm, RSP Architects jointly with Fender Katsalidis.

We brought a number of innovations to the design of this mixed use tower, in collaboration with the contractor, SUJV. We co-developed a unique high-performance concrete (HPC) with record-breaking pumpability that enhanced the tower’s overall constructability. It also enabled more usable premium space for the client and saved hundreds of tonnes of structural steel, reducing both environmental impact and cost.

Set in a prime location, Merdeka 118 is directly integrated with all the rail networks in the city with the ‘Merdeka’ MRT, two LRT stations and the monorail. We have taken great care to preserve the integrity of the neighbourhood with careful excavation and extensive geotechnical monitoring.  

Its landmark address is culturally and historically significant. Overlooking Stadium Merdeka, where Malaysia’s independence was declared, the tower symbolises the union of the historic and contemporary. It will be the new focal point on the striking skyline of Malaysia’s capital city.

Project Summary

118 storey tower


292,000m2 gross floor area

Merdeka 118 tower, in Kuala Lumpur, ranks as the second-tallest building in the world and the tallest in Southeast Asia, standing at 678.9 metres
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Preserving the historical neighbourhood

Merdeka 118 sits adjacent to two of Malaysia’s historical national landmarks – Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara – and is directly connected to an MRT station. We have been exceptionally careful to minimise any settlement or lateral movement. We designed a circular-shaped cofferdam wall, as an embedded retaining system for excavation. The circular shape allows the cofferdam to be self-supporting through the hoop stress mobilisation, removing the need for any struts or ground anchors.

Innovation with high-performance concrete

We developed a unique HPC with the contractor, for the tower core and mega column elements. Its excellent pumpability qualities enabled us to meet a record-breaking height for direct high elevation concrete pumping. It also has a high modulus of elasticity to better resist lateral wind loads, high slump flow for excellent workability, high strength and minimal heat of hydration.
Coupled with three sets of 3-storey deep outrigger structure, our engineering innovation achieves structural stiffness with high resistance to wind loads. The size reduction of the columns and core walls maximises usable premium space for the client. 

Overview of Merdeka 118's structural system Overview of Merdeka 118's structural system
Overview of Merdeka 118’s structural system, which comprises 8 mega columns, central core walls, intermediate columns, 3 sets of single storey belt trusses, 3 sets of triple storey belt trusses and 3 sets of triple storey outriggers © Arup

Our advanced approaches to engineering design have improved one of the world’s tallest towers – it’s more useful, attractive and commercially sustainable while keeping occupants safe and comfortable. ”

Wan Anuar Wan Wan Anuar Project Director


Safety taken to new heights

Accounting for almost a quarter of the tower’s height is the intrinsically slender and flexible spire which is subjected to vibration due to wind load. To minimise the vibration, we adopted 3D space truss framing and its wind load distribution has been ascertained by state-of-the-art aeroelastic wind tunnel testing.

Our Advanced Technology and Research team also conducted in-depth fatigue assessment of the spire and related connections to ensure the spire structures can withstand accumulated damage from day-to-day wind events during its design lifetime.