Archive for the Architectural Territory Category

I.M. Pei, an architect who had just celebrated his 100th birthday.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2017 by vincentloy

I.M.Pei, a renowned Chinese-American architect has just turned 100 years old few days ago. A lot of major architecture websites do share news of his centenary birthday and a glimpse of his architectural projects under his career that spanned over six decades. He defied the typical saying that ‘architect do dies early due to the stress, heavy workload and constantly being all-nighter’.

Born on 26th April 1917 in Guangzhou, China, I.M.Pei moved to USA and studied architecture in University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Graduate School of Design. He was inspired by works by Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer during his years in architectural education. He was particular fascinated by modern architecture and International Style.

I.M.Pei’s design style is described as modernist with significant cubist themes. He is known for combining traditional architectural elements with progressive designs based on simple geometric patterns. He has designed over 70 projects across the world and has received multiple awards and honors such as the Pritzker Prize (known as Nobel Prize of architecture) in 1983, AIA Gold Medal in 1979, Royal Gold Medal in 2010, Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992, etc.

Here below are 10 of his most iconic works:

131 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, USA (1949) – I.M.Pei’s first project.

Luce Memorial Chapel, Taichung, Taiwan (1963)

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, USA (1973)

OCBC Centre, Singapore (1976)

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston, USA (1979)

Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong, China (1989)

Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, USA (1989)

Louvre Pyramid, Paris, France (1993)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, USA (1995)

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar (2008)

Looking just at 10 of his works above, you will obviously notice that he applied strong geometrical shapes into his design. It has become his signature approach in architecture. He designed a variety of projects ranging from community centers to highrise towers. He is no doubt one of the greatest living architects of our generation.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Top 10 Tallest Buildings in the World (as of April 2017)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2017 by vincentloy

The two cities that witness the birth of skyscrapers are Chicago and New York City in United States. That was over a hundred years ago after the introduction of steel framed construction and passenger elevator that enables buildings to be built much taller. Now in 2017, only one building in United States that is placed within the top 10 tallest buildings in the world currently. The other 9 are generally all located in Asia. Here below is the current top 10 tallest buildings in the world as of April 2017. The list only includes completed buildings and does not include television towers, observation towers, masts, antennas or buildings with very little percentage of habitable floors.

  1. Burj Khalifa, 828 metres, 163 floors, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (completed in 2010).

2. Shanghai Tower, 632 metres, 128 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2015).

3. Makkah Royal Clock Tower, 601 metres, 120 floors, Mecca, Saudi Arabia (completed in 2012).

4. Ping An Finance Center, 599 metres, 115 floors, Shenzhen, China (completed in 2017).

5. Lotte World Tower, 555 metres, 123 floors, Seoul, South Korea (completed in 2017).

6. One World Trade Center, 541 metres, 104 floors, New York City, United States (completed in 2014).

7. Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, 530 metres, 111 floors, Guangzhou, China (completed in 2016).

8. Taipei 101, 508 metres, 101 floors, Taipei, Taiwan (completed in 2004).

9. Shanghai World Financial Center, 492 metres, 101 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2008).

10. International Commerce Centre, 484 metres, 108 floors, Hong Kong, China (completed in 2010).

This list will change drastically from year to year due to rapid increase of construction of supertall skyscrapers in the world in recent decade. More and more new buildings are reaching further to the sky. Out of the current top 10 tallest buildings in the world, half of them are in China (this doesn’t even include Taipei 101 in Taiwan). 8 of them soar above 500 metres in height respectively too. Also noted is that every buildings in this top 10 tallest list has over 100 floors respectively. The tallest in the world, Burj Khalifa has been on the top of the list for over 7 years now. By 2020, it is expected to be defeated by Kingdom Tower, a skyscraper currently under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. That tower is projected to soar above 1000 metres (1 km!) when completed in 2020.

The oldest supertall in this list is Taipei 101 which is only 13 years old by now as it is built in 2004. More and more new buildings are joining the list with two newcomers this year; Ping An Finance Center and Lotte World Tower at No.4 and No.5 placing respectively. Former world’s tallest buildings and still the current world’s tallest twin buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers are kicked out of the top 10 list this year as they are now placed at No.11 (and 12) with height of 452 metres. Too bad…my home coutry’s famous twin towers are now out of the ranking. Anyway, in few years to come, Malaysia will have another new supertall; PNB 118 Tower that will certainly join this top 10 list with a height of over 600 metres.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Dwells into some architectural issues and topics recently.

Posted in Architectural Territory on April 1, 2017 by vincentloy

Week 5 of the semester is gone. Another 10 weeks to go roughly before it ends. Long way to go. It looks like in this semester, I’m having this habit of counting down how many weeks left in a blog post whenever a weekend arrives. I have been using up my brain to the maximum capacity recently to think deep on my thesis proposal as well as for my design studio’s project. By the end of this semester, I would have grown a lot of white hair. I can’t seem to stop thinking and worrying about them. Perhaps, I should listen to one of my tutors’ advice which is to chill until Week 10 and only start pressuring myself from that week onward. Haha…obviously, I can’t do that.

My design project for this semester’s studio is actually quite interesting. I am tasked to design a new School of Built Environment on a site proposed as part of the future development of my current campus. If you are studying architecture in Curtin University’s Bentley campus, you would know how terrible and old our current architecture building is. It’s a good move to relocate the school to a new facility. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to enjoy learning in a new building as I would have graduated by the time this project is truly realized. Designing a new building that we often get associated to! Sounds fun! It would be much better if my brain can work out some crazy and creative ideas for my design.

As for my thesis proposal, I have fixed my subject of research from Week 1 already. However, I’m having difficulties narrowing it down to a certain area for me to research and challenge on. I sort of having some ideas but there’s just too many things going on in my mind right now. My subject of research is on skyscraper, a subject that I’m very fond of (you will know it if you have been following my blog for a long time). And my area is on how to get a skyscraper to be socially vibrant within the inhabitants themselves and also to its surrounding urban environment. Skyscraper is usually regarded as a building typology where social interaction is minimal and is disconnected to the rest of the city it is located in. I wish to challenge it by reinventing high-rise to be a socially activated place. I summarize it up to Skyscraper + Social = Vertical Neighborhood. I hope my thesis supervisor will be enthusiastic to my topic and will guide me well to the end of this year for my final semester’s thesis submission. I’m hoping to have fun on my thesis too. People are building skyscrapers everywhere in the world now. It’s a trend and I wish my research here will be helpful for my future career too. I’m looking to be a future ‘skyscraper specialist’. haha…

(Image above is from Romain Jacquet)

Recently, I came across a viral news of an architecture office proposing for a concept of a suspended skyscraper. It is a very tall building not sitting on the Earth, but on the asteroid that floats and orbits around the Earth. The idea is very cool and this news becomes viral in these few days. But of course, there would be multitude of challenges to make this happen. It may work, but many things need to be resolved. But for right now, it just opens up our mind of what skyscrapers can do in the future besides than just getting taller and taller. See the suspended skyscraper’s concept below:

And ohh yeah…we have came into a new month. It’s April now! It’s April Fools Day! Time to prank your friends for a fun day!

Pritzker Prize 2017 Winner: Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta (RCR Arquitectes)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2017 by vincentloy

The recipient of this year’s Pritzker Prize, the world’s most prestigious honour to architect, is a little less known. The recipient goes to not only a single person this year, but three, who works under one office; RCR Architects. They are Rafael Arana, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta. Well, it’s not about popularity and the ‘star’ appeal to win this honour. It’s about one’s significant contribution to the field of architecture to be able to receive this award.

Here are an article from Dezeen (original source: https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/) that introduces us to this award-winning architecture office, RCR Arquitectes:

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Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta all studied at the School of Architecture in Vallès, and set up their practice in their home town of Olot, Catalonia, in 1988. Their work ranges from public and private spaces to cultural venues and educational institutions, each designed to closely relate to the environment of its site. The three architects started working locally, designing an athletics track for the town in 2000 before creating their own office in an old foundry there eight years later. RCR Arquitectes’ other projects in Olot include a private house and a restaurant.

Many more of the studio’s projects over the past 10 years have also been located in Spain’s Girona province, ranging from a winery to a kindergarten and a public theatre. Later the firm began building slightly further afield – completing an art centre and a museum in France in 2014. Often collaborating with other architects, the trio uses materials like recycled steel and plastic. The Pritzker jury described their projects as “beautiful and poetic”. “Each building designed by these architects is special and is uncompromising of its time and place,” said the jury citation. “Their works are always the fruit of true collaboration and at the service of the community.” “They understand that architecture and its surroundings are intimately intertwined and know that the choice of materials and the craft of building are powerful tools for creating lasting and meaningful spaces.”

See 10 key projects by RCR Arquitectes below, in roughly chronological order:

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Tossols-Basil Athletics Track, 2000, Olot, Girona, Spain

Looping through two clearings in an oak forest, the running track avoids the trees and is coloured green to blend with its surroundings. The natural topography of the site provides stands for spectators, while a small pavilion comprising two Corten steel volumes includes a bar and storage for the football field.

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Bell–Lloc Winery, 2007, Palamós, Girona, Spain

A descending pathway with angled steel sides funnels visitors down from opposite directions to the entrance of the winery. Once inside, the material also creates a vaulted ceiling over the wine production machinery and barrel storage areas, where gaps in the roof allow slithers of light into the underground spaces.

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Sant Antoni – Joan Oliver Library, Senior Citizens Center and Cándida Pérez Gardens, 2007, Barcelona, Spain

Situated in Barcelona’s dense Eixample district, this cultural venue was intended to break the continuity of its historic street. A bridging section of the front building – which houses the library – provides public access underneath to a courtyard behind, where a low-slung volume wraps around the edge.

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Barberí Laboratory, 2008, Olot, Girona, Spain

RCR Arquitectes transformed a former foundry in their home town into their own offices and studio. Elements of the original building, like crumbling walls and a steel structure, were preserved. They were then paired with huge expanses of glass to create light-filled workspaces.

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El Petit Comte Kindergarten, 2010, Besalú, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

Gradients of colourful plastic create a rainbow effect across this kindergarten building. A courtyard at the centre lets children play outside in a protected environment, while the plastic allows coloured light to flood the spaces inside.

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La Lira Theater Public Open Space, 2011, Ripoll, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

To form a covered public space for theatre productions, the architects built a slatted-steel box, with angled sides and open ends, over a plaza sandwiched between two old structures. The volume faces a river and is connected to the opposite bank via a bridge made from the same material.

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Les Cols Restaurant Marquee, 2011, Olot, Girona, Spain

Swooping over this restaurant is a lightweight structure made from thin metal pipes, with translucent plastic stretched across the top. The canopy evokes the experience of dining al fresco, and extends beyond the enclosed space to protect those who are actually eating outside.

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Row House, 2012, Olot, Girona, Spain

When renovating this house in their home town, the architects exposed the underside of its tiled roof and concealed circulation on either side behind thin vertical louvres. In the central space – illuminated by a giant glass wall at the back – contemporary insertions form a sunken kitchen and dining level, with two separate mezzanines for lounging and sleeping above.

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La Cuisine Art Center, 2014, Nègrepelisse, France

Tucked inside the stone walls of a historic chateau, rooms made from steel and glass wrap around three sides of the building’s internal perimeter. These spaces host exhibitions, conferences and workshops dedicated to the art and design of food and cooking, and face a central courtyard that is used for larger events.

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Soulages Museum, 2014, Rodez, France
In collaboration with G Trégouët

Contemporary art exhibitions are housed within weathering-steel boxes that cantilever slightly from a small slope. The galleries are linked by glazed corridors and bridges, forming a route through the museum.

After receiving this prestigious honour, this Spanish firm along with these three leading architects shot to fame immediately in world of architecture.

(Images and information in this post are from the following source (also stated earlier): https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/.)

 

New tall buildings rising in KL and latest skyline images of the city.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2017 by vincentloy

Since I’m back to Kuala Lumpur last November and some visits to the city since then, I have noticed some new tall buildings in the city. Some are still under construction but are already visible from far and making an impact to the city’s skyline due to their massive heights. Some have already topped out due to speedy construction and some have been totally completed and opened. So, there must be addition of few more buildings over 200 metres in height in the city of Kuala Lumpur.

But when I check out any latest list of the tallest buildings in the city online from Skyscraper Center, Emporis, Wikipedia, and other sources, there hasn’t been any much difference which is so not right. The list differs in each websites I browsed and I couldn’t really find one that truly reflect the current statistic of the city’s buildings. That is disappointing. Some new buildings are missing in this list and some others on the other list. They should have an accurate and updated database compiling the correct and latest information on this. I also found out some new buildings are listed there but without much essential data present like its height.

Here below are some of the new buildings in the city that are around or over 200 metres in height and should be apparent in the list of tallest buildings in Kuala Lumpur but are not:

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Vortex KL Suites and Residences – Emporis stated it to be 235 metres tall and still under construction. But actually this 58-storey tower has been completed. Skyscrapercity put it at 260 metres high but I don’t think that is correct by looking at its picture.

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Ritz-Carlton Residences KL – Also called as Berjaya Central Park, it is 48 floors high but there is no height data for this building at all.

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Le Nouvel Residences – the taller tower is 49-storey high with Emporis stating a height of 199 metres, just 1 metre short of 200 metres mark.

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Elite Pavilion – this one is going to be 230 metres tall and has 50 floors when completed. Its construction pace is noticeably fast and it is going to be topped out this year.

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Platinum Suites Tower – Skyscrapercity put this tower at 51 floors high but Emporis states 57 floors and 231 metres tall. I don’t think Emporis’ data on this one is right. I knew its top floor swimming pool level is on 51st floor which is also the tallest swimming pool in the city. It also claims to be the tallest condominium in the city, a title previously hold by The Troika Tower 3 at 204 metres.

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From left to right for first picture and from right to left for second picture – Sentral Residences Tower 1 & 2, St. Regis Hotel & Residences and Q Sentral. These new buildings in KL Sentral Development reach around 200 metres in height respectively and has already been completed except for the Sentral Residences Tower 1 & 2 that are still under construction but have already topped out. However, almost none of these buildings are featured in any list out there for the tallest buildings in the city. Emporis stated that Q Sentral is 49 floors and 199 metres high (but no data in Skyscraper Center), both Emporis and Skyscraper Center stated that St. Regis Hotel & Residences is 48 floors and 205 metres high (so I assume that is the correct data), and Skyscraper Center stated that Sentral Residences Tower 1 & 2 to be 52 floors and 200 metres tall each (but no data in Emporis). Weird right?! Conflicting or incomplete data everywhere.

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KL Eco City Vogue Suite One – This project is expected to be completed by this year and it has topped out to its final height of 243 metres. Emporis states that it has 60 floors while Skyscraper Center said it has 63 floors. Whatever…! When completed, it is going to be the tallest residential building in the city and the whole Malaysia. This is a bit further away from the city area as it is in Mid Valley region. Now, the 310-metres tall Telekom Tower is not the only skyscraper standing in that Mid Valley region.

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Four Seasons Place KL – This one is finally making huge progress after many years of delay in construction. When completed next year, it will be 65 floors high and has a height of 343 metres tall, a much taller companion to the adjacent Petronas Twin Towers (452 metres tall and current world’s tallest twin buildings).

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W Hotel & Residences – Emporis states that it has 55 floors and 235 metres tall but Skyscraper Center states that it has 50 floors and is 232 metres tall. Conflicting data again. This skyscraper will be completed this year.

These buildings above are only those buildings in final stage of construction, topped-out or newly completed in KL that is over 200 metres tall respectively. Skyscraper projects that are still in early stage of construction are not included here such as the PNB118 Tower that is going to be the tallest building of the country when completed at 630 metres high. There is still no visible progress of this skyscraper project after so many years. I’m sure it is going to be completed later than the targeted year 2020 deadline.

Some cool latest pictures of Kuala Lumpur city skyline below before I end this post. Click on the images for a larger and more breathtaking sight.

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(Images in this post are from Skyscrapercity.com)

My architectural highlight of 2016

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2016 by vincentloy

Year 2016 is coming to an end. It is the year when I stopped working (have worked for almost 4 years) and started my postgraduate study on architecture in Curtin University, Perth, Australia. If everything went well, I will be graduating with a Master of Architecture end of next year.

During these first two semesters of my study this year, I have undertaken two studio projects. The first one is to design a masterplan to rejuvenate the site of the present Perth International Convention Centre and its surrounding (for my Urban Design Studio in first semester). My concept is to create a Waterfront City, maximizing the potential of the river that has a lot to offer and enhancing various linkages to the CBD at north, Elizabeth Quay at east, King’s Park at west and Swan River at south. 3 images to best describe my project below:

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(Copyrights reserved to the images above. Please do not use the above images without my permission)

The next one is to design an indoor archery centre in Whiteman Park (for my Integrated Design Studio in second semester). The challenge of this project is that the building has to be low-cost, quick and easy to be built and maintained, phased, flexible to cater to other functions, and responds well to the present site and the archery sport itself. My idea is to create an archery ‘poly-house’, a warehouse-like structure enveloped with random polycarbonate cladding for passive design strategies and aesthetic purpose. 3 images to best describe my project below:

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(Copyrights reserved to the images above. Please do not use the above images without my permission)

Now, I’m looking forward to one more project (Complex Design Studio) next year before my Thesis project in my final semester. I’m hoping for an interesting design brief for my Complex Studio next year.

The three architectural websites that I have visited the most in 2016 remain the same as in the previous years:

www.archdaily.com

(The best website out there to check on countless amazing architectural projects every year with well-written articles and images. What’s great is that the website has new articles daily)

www.skyscrapercenter.com

(My favourite category in architecture – skyscraper. This is the database by Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat on all skyscrapers around the world that is constantly updated)

www.skyscrapercity.com

(Another site on skyscraper. This one is forum-based and is the best platform for me to view on latest images or updates of completed, proposed and under-construction skyscraper projects)

The three most striking architectural projects built in 2016 that captured my most attention are: (The three images below are from Archdaily)

World Trade Center Transportation Hub by Santiago Calatrava

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Antwerp Port House by Zaha Hadid Architects

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VIA 57 West by BIG

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The three most talked about events or happenings of the year that are related to architecture are:

15th Venice Architecture Biennale this year from 28 may to 27 November and is directed by Pritzker Prize winning architect, Alejandro Aravena.

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(Image above from DesignBoom)

The Floating Piers project by Christo and Jeanne-Claude at Lake Iseo, Italy that made its round in social networking sites mid of the year when it is opened to the publicfrom June 18 to July 3. The project is now dismantled.

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(Image above from Blog.Daum)

And the heartbreaking news of the death of Zaha Hadid, one of world’s most famous architects and is arguably the most celebrated woman architect of the generation. She died on March 31, 2016 at age of 65 due to heart attack.

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(Image above from Architect Magazine)

That’s it for my architectural highlight of the year 2016.

First walkabout around KLCC since coming back from Australia

Posted in Architectural Territory on December 5, 2016 by vincentloy

I went to Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) recently to settle some stuff. When I was done, I spent another extra half an hour walking around that area which is always one of my favourite things to do. Why? It’s because there are a lot of skyscrapers over there for me to view, particularly the ones that are new or undergoing construction with visible progress. I was not around in KL for just 9 months, and I noticed some obvious differences to the city’s skyline particularly in this KLCC region.

More and more tall buildings are being constructed in the city. It’s a good sign of growth of the city, but still not as booming as compared to any cities in China or in Dubai. There are still a lot of empty lands in the city with huge potential for many developments.

Here below are some of the images I have taken during my walkabout. I could have walk a lot more but came to a halt due to rain. It was cloudy the whole day.

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The twin towers shown above are the Le Nouvel Residences. The towers, linked by a pedestrian bridge on the air and a podium on the base, are located right besides the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. Designed by famous international architect, Jean Nouvel, the towers stood out due to the vertical rods and random planter boxes for landscaping to envelope all four faces of each towers. The last time I saw them was before I left to Australia in past February when the landscaping has just been installed and not grown yet, hence the effect is not immediately visible. Now, it looks great for the towers which I think will be officially opened next year with current on-going remaining interior works. The taller of the twin towers reaches a height of 200 metres.

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Shown above is the W Hotel and Residences tower which is still under construction but I think has topped out (structure reaching final height). It has 55 floors and will be among the 10 tallest buildings in Malaysia at a height of 235 metres. This tower also sits besides the Petronas Twin Towers.

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Shown above is also another under-construction project that has finally displayed some highly visible progress. It’s the Four Seasons Place KL. This project had went through several delays and also redesigns in the past. It’s also located right next to the Petronas Twin Towers, or to be more precise, right to Maxis Tower. This tower comprising of luxurious hotel and residences will be 343 metres tall with 65 floors.

Few more pictures taken from KLCC Park below:

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Last but not least, a walk around KLCC is never complete without this picture below of the Petronas Twin Towers, still the tallest twin buildings in the world.

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And since Christmas is around the corner, one more picture of the twin towers in the evening with a huge decorated X’mas tree taken on my birthday yesterday.

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That view above is magical!

(Copyrights reserved to all images in this post)