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Kuala Lumpur’s Moorish style

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KL’s colonial “look” originated with Charles Edwin Spooner, the state engineer, and architect Anthony Norman, who in the 1890s fused a Neoclassical Renaissance style – then the standard for government buildings throughout the British Empire – with “Eastern” motifs, which were felt to be more appropriate for an Islamic country. This Moorish style, however, characterized by onion domes, cupolas, colonnades, arched windows and wedding-cake plasterwork, owed more to Indian Moghul architecture than wooden Malay structures. Buildings by Norman in this mould include the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, the old Post Office next door, and the Textile Museum further south. Norman was succeeded in 1903 by A.B. Hubbock, who had actually lived in India and so smoothly continued the Moorish theme in the Jamek Mosque, old Kuala Lumpur train station and elsewhere.

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