Sultan Abdul Samad Building
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The Sultan Abdul Samad Building in Jalan Raja is one of the most well known landmarks in the Kuala Lumpur city. The construction of this building started in 1893 and was completed in 1896. Initially the building was designed to house the colonial State Government of Selangor but when it was completed, it housed the entire Federated Malay States (FMS) admninistration.
The first plans were drawn up by R.A.J. Bidwell under the supervision of the state architect, A.C. Norman. However the plans were based on classical Renaissance style which was not so suitable for our climate and environment.
Hence only the general layout of the plans were approved and the external elevations of the building were changed by Norman. It was recommended that an oriental style would be more suitable with the tropical and cultural environment here and hence the Moorish style which were a mixture of European function and Islamic form were chosen for the exterior of the building. This style was later adopted for the design of most public buildings in Kuala Lumpur built in the period that followed.
The foundation stone of the building was laid by the Governor of the Straits Settlements, Sir Charles Mitchell, on 19th October 1894. Mitchell however did not entirely agreed that Kuala Lumpur needed such a grand government office but this sentiment was put to rest with the formation of the FMS and subsequent increase in Kuala Lumpur's administrative importance as its capital.
The capital is two stories high with a two meter wide verandah way around both floors. It is constructed of red brick with invitation stone dressing with a titled roof. The exposed red brick with the white plaster lined arches and striped courses became known as the blood and bandages style.
The plan of the building is asymmetrical with a F-shaped plan form. The verandahs which surround the building are arcaded and several forms of arches were used such as pointed arch, ogee arch. horse-shoe arch. multi foil arch and four-centered arch were all emphasized by the imitation stone dressing. Indian patent stone with Islamic geometrical patterns was used in the flooring. The building has three towers, that is the central clock tower which is square in plan and two shorter circulation towers with outer stairways that climb the towers in a spiraled fashion. All three towers have onion shaped domes with copper coverings.
Many historical events had been held in front of this building. Among them was the declaration of independence of Malaysia (Malaya then) on 31 August, 1957 and the lowering of the Union Jack Flag. On 1st January 1982, the clock tower became the venue for another historic event when the time between West Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore were standardized.
Since 1972, this historical building has housed the High Court and renovation work were carried out in 1978. Although this building is a century old, it still retains an imposing presence in Kuala Lumpur. Today, this building is the focus of thousands of Malaysian from all walks of life to gather in front of the building to user in every New Year on the stroke.
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