Even to millions who know little about the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, its skyline is instantly recognizable — the Petronas Towers, its two most outstanding features, were long the tallest buildings in the world, and their exotic pagoda capitals are impossible to miss. The towers are only one part of a sprawling commercial and hospitality development, the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC), whose latest Arquitectonica-designed addition will make the city’s convention center among the most commodious and sophisticated in East Asia. Directly across from the Petronas Towers, on a narrow wedge of a site, the extension to the convention center (the building’s third to date) appears as a partially fragmented vertical mass, its elevation cut by diagonal crimps to the curtain wall facade.
These folds give the building the appearance of being not a single tower, but a cluster of towers, bundled together and sprouting almost botanically from the “trunk” of its podium and the “roots” of the surrounding convention center complex. A further visual link between low-rise and high-rise is an irregular mullion design that traces up the length of the exterior, beginning at the base and tapering away toward the crown in a jagged profile suggestive of a skyline inscribed within the facade of the building (which, of course, is inscribed in turn in the real skyline). With a mixed program of offices, meeting spaces, hotel rooms and more, the building will be a major new amenity as well as a suitably energetic counterweight to the famous twins nearby.