KL Sports City

  • 2020

  • Architectural
    Place Design

Designed In:


The Malaysian Government’s brief for the rejuvenation of KL Sports City called for sustainable long-term use of the facilities and parklands by the community coupled with world-class venues to host major events. Phase 1 included the masterplan, landscaping and transformation of four main venues within 18 months.

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Image: Aaron Pocock Photography
Image: Aaron Pocock Photography
Image: Aaron Pocock Photography
Image: Aaron Pocock Photography
Image: Aaron Pocock Photography
Image: Aaron Pocock Photography
Image: Aaron Pocock Photography
Image: Shutterstock
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  • The 1988 Commonwealth Games precinct was infrequently used by the elite sporting, entertainment and local communities. Government planning was for local population growth with adjacent new housing, offices and retail developments. Within a tight timeframe and budget, the comprehensive upgrades improved: athlete and spectator facilities, safety, operations and revenue opportunities. Culturally representative designs were developed for world-class Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Axiata Arena, the National Aquatic Centre and National Hockey Stadium. Linking facilities to public transport via a shaded canopy along the boulevard, the masterplan gave back public parkland, created more natural shade, offered passive recreation and bike paths.

  • Redesign of the four venues in Phase 1 focused on providing functional excellence of international standing, coupled with the quest to express and celebrate the Malaysian culture. The National Stadium features a unique and climatically responsive façade, conceived as a reference to the stripes of the Malaysian Tiger. Constructed from a series of vertical louvers which enable natural ventilation and sun-shading, the programmable integrated LED digital lights within the façade allows the operators to change the mood or branding overnight. This world-first design also creates a changing beacon drawing people to KL Sports City on any night of the year.

  • KL Sports City has stimulated residential growth and become a meaningful and sustainable year-round sporting and recreational precinct, just twenty minutes by light rail from the capital. Flexibility in venue design (inside and out) along with increased greenspace and integrated transport has created an engaging major event precinct that attracts a range of international sports and musicians as well as community events, pop-up markets and a welcoming recreational space for local residents every day of the year. Shortlisted for the 2017 WAF Awards, KL Sports City has achieved FIFA and IAAF compliance and been awarded a Singapore Good Design Mark.

  • The brief to create new venues from old was cleverly achieved through the use of the existing base structures – removing the costs and frequent waste of demolition and reducing the overall embodied energy. Additionally, the design increased green space from 5% to 30% of the overall land. The dedication to greening the precinct and creating a green lung for KL Sports City reduces the heat island effect, improves air quality, and sees a significant increase in shade provision. The planting of shade-providing tropical plants creates ‘green corridors’ for people to escape Malaysia’s heat and enjoy outdoor events like pop up markets and festivals. Transformations used considered building materials to achieve climactically responsible outcomes. The Aquatic Centre uses natural shade and ventilation solutions such as the open canopy roof and glass curtain walled foyer to provide more natural light. The Axiata Arena features a unique and climatically responsive facade that is permeable to through-breezes and daylight. The locally sourced and extruded aluminium louver blades for the National Stadium bolstered the local manufacturing economy. Similarly, the venue seating fabrication was sourced by adapting the facilities of a local under-utilised car manufacturing plant.