The MARA Building is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur city centre between two busy roads which are Jalan Raja Laut — where the main entrance is — and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. It was inaugurated by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato' Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad on 12 April 1987.
This complex includes 4-storey podium block, 22-storey tower block and 3-storey basement. The podium block of Medan MARA features 165 commercial lots with a total area of 150k sq ft. One of the main features of this podium is its two main entrances which face the Pertama Complex and Jalan Raja Laut.
The Design Concept
The design of the building is inspired by the desire to create a unique identity and image that could portray the richness of the Malay culture. Shaped like a perahu, a Malay traditional boat, the podium block symbolises the spirit of adventure and the quest for knowledge as well as the desire for progress. This architectural concept reflects the gentility of Malay culture and their constant pursuit of new ventures and opportunities for the advancement of the nation. The mural on the building signifies the development, progress and socio-economic growth of the nation.
The use of bamboo shoot and arabesque motifs is inspired by the intricate designs adorning the windows of the Mosque of Sultan Mehmet in Istanbul, Turkey and the wood carvings on Istana Bandar Tinggi, Negeri Sembilan. Both motifs are brought together to form a design that resembles the edge of a songket, a Malay artistic tradition. The design also features a weaving motif inspired by the traditional and customary use of mengkuang floor mats in the past during meetings held to discuss local community development agenda. In general, the concept design of MARA building clearly represents the Malay architectural identity in Malaysia.