Timothy Tye
Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Sultan Abdul Samad BuildingSultan Abdul Samad Building (7 July, 2016)

B. Melayu

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building (GPS: 3.14871, 101.69433) is a historic building in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Located along Jalan Raja, it is the centrepiece of colonial architecture in Kuala Lumpur. The need for a new British colonial administrative building came about to address the public displeasure of having to climb Bukit Aman (or Bluff Hill as it was then known), where the colonial administration was located before that.

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building was designed by R.A.J. Bidwell, the chief draughtsman, and construction by the Public Works Department, under its state engineer and director, C.E. Spooner. In fact, what we see today is a revised version, as the original design, by A.C. Norman, in association with R.A.J. Bidwell, in the Classic Renaissance style, was rejected by the then Resident of Selangor, W.E. Maxwell, for being too costly, and by Spooner, who simply did not like the design.

So Spooner took upon the task of designing a building to reflect Islamic elements for a tropical climate. He conceptualized the "Mahometan" [sic] style for the building, referring to the Neo-Saracenic style that characterizes several major buildings in British India. He had to work within the ground plans that was already laid by Norman's design, but managed to come up with an alternative that receive a buy in from the colonial administrators.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building was formerly known simply as Government Offices. Construction began in 1894 and the building was completed in 1897. Constructed entirely of bricks, the building has a front façade which is 450 ft (137.2m) in length, and an imposing porch in the centre. The porch holds three horseshoe arches, and the piers supporting them are 4 ft thick. The 135 ft (41.2m) central tower holds a clock that was first tolled during Queen Victoria's birthday parade in 1897. The tower is topped by a copper dome that is in turn topped by a copper chatri. The stairways are housed in two circular towers on both sides on the central porch.

Credit should be given to CE Spooner for completing this prominent building within the allocated funds, which was $152,000 straits dollars. Originally known as the new Government Offices, it housed the Public Works Department and Telegraphic Offices.

Sultan Abdul Samad BuildingNight view of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building (7 July, 2016)

Sultan Abdul Samad BuildingNight view of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building (7 July, 2016)

Sultan Abdul Samad BuildingSultan Abdul Samad Building (8 February, 2006)

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