“KL Sports City… will give inspiration to our athletes and develop the sports industry.”
– Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia
Populous and Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB) worked together a shared vision for the first stage of KL Sports City.
The catalyst for the project was this year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Kuala Lumpur 2017, an important opportunity to return Malaysia to the world sporting stage.
Originally opened for the 1998 Commonwealth Games, the brief called for the transformation from design to completion within 18 months; providing four ‘new’ world-class venues to stage major events and recreation facilities for the Malaysian community year-round.
The redevelopment of Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Putra Stadium (now Axiata Arena), the National Aquatic Centre and the National Hockey Stadium focused on providing functional excellence coupled with the expression of Malaysian culture.
The National Stadium, with the distinguishing stripes of the external façade, was conceived as a reference to the Malaysian Tiger. Constructed from a series of vertical louvers that have been twisted in response to climatic conditions, the new façade offers sun shading and natural ventilation to the concourse without completely obscuring the original iconic skeleton of the stadium.
LED lights have been integrated into the louvers, allowing digitally based animations to flow over the three dimensional façade. The end result allows the operators to create a new venue for each and every event – reflecting the activities occurring within.
The team strove to create a co-ordinated and liveable sports city by adapting, updating and linking the existing facilities, creating more public parkland and natural shade, and adding a 1.4km synthetic rubber running track, bike paths and shaded canopy over the boulevarde joining the light rail station.
The improvements have already stimulated residential growth, fostering the precinct’s increasing usage, relevance and ‘ownership’ by the people of KL: it has quickly become a true ‘Sports City’.