The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is among Kuala Lumpur’s earliest Moorish-style buildings. It is set to the east of Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka) and the Royal Selangor Club, across from Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin. It was built in 1897 and was named after the reigning sultan of Selangor at the time.
The distinguished landmark originally served as the secretariat for the colonial British administration. Designed by AC Norman, the architect responsible for Masjid Jamek (Jamek Mosque), the historically-significant building used to house the superior courts of Malaysia: the Federal Court of Malaysia, the Court of Appeals and the High Court of Malaya, before they moved to Putrajaya.
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Sultan Abdul Samad Building’s Design
Sultan Abdul Samad Building is now home to the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture of Malaysia and sits beside the old KL Railway Station. Though it no longer serves an official purpose, it remains one of the city’s most important tourist attractions and a historical landmark in the city.
Constructed entirely of brick, the building features strong gothic, western and Moorish-style influences with an imposing porch, graceful arches, curved colonnades topped with shiny copper cupolas and a domineering 41.2m- high clock tower. It is frequently seen as the backdrop for Malaysia’s annual Independence Day parades (which take place past Dataran Merdeka).
Good to Know
The Sultan Abdul Samad Building remains an enduring attraction amidst a rapidly changing city skyline. There are several more structures in this area (to the east of Dataran Merdeka) designed by both Anthony C. Norman and A.B. Hubbock: these clusters of buildings form a large part of KL’s Colonial Core and provide a striking counterpoint to the looming Menara KL and stylish PETRONAs Twin Towers.
Behind the Sultan Abdul Samad Building you’ll find the confluence of the Klang River and Gombak River, as well as Masjid Jamek (Jamek Mosque): a mosque of similar design by the same architect. Sultan Abdul Samad Building is easy to get to: the Pasar Seni or Masjid Jamek LRT station is just a short walk away (10 minutes) plus several buses run routes past the building.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building
- Location: Jalan Tun Perak (across from Dataran Merdeka on Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin)
- How to get there: Take the LRT and alight at Masjid Jamek station. This building is 10 minutes walk from the station. You will not miss it because there are many good signages to guide you to this place.