Sultan Abdul Samad Building is the most prominent classic landmark of Kuala Lumpur. It is strategically located opposite Merdeka Square (literally Independance Square) and The Royal Selangor Club, the Tudor-style building which used to be the watering hole for only British aristocrats and top civil servants.
This building is a dinstinctive icon of British Rule in Malaya (the Malaysia’s old name) just like what are left behind in many parts of the world which used to be under British Rule. And that is something special about a building and its architecture. Although the British Colonial Masters have long gone more than 52 years ago from Malaya the structure and the buildings still remain for many years to come as part of the history as well as the living proof for the newer generations to see, learn and study.
I couldn’t agree more with Todd Gipstein, a renowned photographer who shoots architecture and photojournalism, who was quoted as saying:
“Every building is a snapshot of a particular time and place–the raw materials that were on hand, how far the builders’ technology had progressed, and the aspirations of its creators. But architecture also makes a powerful statement about the unique culture it reflects, whether the elegant simplicity of a grass bungalow, or the dramatic complexity of a chrome skyscraper. One whispers, the other shouts, but both are enduring reminders of cultural identity.”
Sultan Abdul Samad Building bathed in the golden light in the late evening.
This magnificent building was designed by AC Norman inspired by Moorish and Mogul architecture and named after Sultan of Selangor who reigned from 1857 to 1898. Kuala Lumpur used to be part of Selangor state before it was declared as Federal Territory and its ownership was transferred to Kuala Lumpur.
The building has a shiny copper dome and a 41.2 metres high clock tower. It was constructed of red bricks and has a 2 metre wide verandah around both floors. The red bricks are exposed and have white plaster lined arches and striped which have became known as blood and bandages style. Several forms of arches such as ogee arch, horse shoe arch, pointed arch and multifoil arch were used to build the structure. It has 3 towers namely the tallest Central Clock Tower and 2 shorter circulation towers. All the towers have onion shaped domes with copper coverings.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building against its modern counterparts in the background
This building has been the focal point of many historical events. The declaration of the independence of Malaysia was done in front of this building on August 31, 1957 where the Union Jack Flag was lowered and replaced with the national flag of Malaysia.
At one time, the time zone in West Malaysia was half an hour later than East Malaysia. The standardization of time between Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore was done here on January 1, 1982.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building was used to house the Federated of Malay States administration after its completion in 1897. Since 1972, this building has been used to house the High Court and the Supreme Court. When the new Federal Administrative Capital of Malaysia was completed, the Federal Court and Court of Appeals have since moved to the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya. It now houses the commercial Division of the High Court of Malaya as well as a handicraft centre.
This historical building is one of the 26 buildings that has been gazetted as heritage buildings under the Malaysia’s Antiquities Act 1976.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building captured from the tall flag pole area
Sultan Abdul Samad Building captured behind the flower shrub
Sultan Abdul Samad Building in a frame during sunset
The clock tower