CTBUH Announces Addition to Height Criteria,

The Exchange 106 Becomes Tallest in Malaysia 


(c) Sean Su, Purple Photo Group

CTBUH CEO Javier Quintana de Una presents  a plaque to the developer, Mulia Group, at the "Tall Excellence" conference

in Chicago, recognizing the new height and designation of The Exchange 106 as the tallest building in Malaysia. 


20 December 2022


The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) recently announced an addition to its height criteria, clarifying the definition of an “entrance predominantly above existing or pre-existing grade” for buildings that sit on “significant podiums.”


Since the advent of the skyscraper, we have witnessed an evolution of forms, purposes, and technologies in the typoplogy," states CTBUH CEO Javier Quintana de Una, "So, too, we must remain nimble in our thinking about how we measure and assess tall buildings. This update reflects the most innovative thinking from our team of experts to remain apace of advancements in tall buildings.


According to CTBUH height criteria, buildings are measured from the “level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building.”


Now, CTBUH’s definition of “significant” is accompanied by a new qualifier: “However, it should be noted that, in cases where the tall building sits on a significant podium, and its direct tower entrance is contained deep within that podium, often at a higher floor level, it may be allowable to take the building height from the pedestrian area immediately surrounding the site, if that pedestrian area is significant, open air, and above grade.”


The shift has led to the reevaluation of buildings such as The Exchange 106, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which was retroactively conferred a height of 453.6 meters to its architectural top.  


We understand that urban habitats are continually changing and adapting to the needs of the individuals and communities they house and serve,” continued Quintana de Una. “Accordingly, we must evaluate entrance and egress in a way that is sensitive to and responds to actual use and functionality, not just the way we anticipate people behaving on paper and in models.

The Exchange 106 was designed to integrate seamlessly into the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) masterplan, which comprises several feature levels, including a city park, a central business district (CBD) loop and a comprehensive transit tunnel system. The building’s lobby and porte cochere open directly into the park, built onto the rooftop of the adjacent mall, situated four levels, or more than 20 meters above the pre-exsisting grade at street level. The primary pedestrian entrance, though, is accessed via an open-air pedestrian promenade connected to a transit station directly adjacent to the building’s structural podium, at an elevation closer to the pre-existing grade level of the TRX complex. 


Therefore the most trafficked pedestrian entrance is 8.15 meters lower than the previously recognized baseline for the architectural height of The Exchange 106," according to Quintana de Una, "which is now recognized as the tallest building in Malaysia at the time of its completion in 2019.


The new confirmed height surpasses the Petronas Twin Towers, completed in 1998, which stand at 451.9 meters.