Palace of Justice

Putrajaya, Malaysia | C.2003

Photo Credit: Firdaus Hashim

Standing firmly along the grand avenue of Malaysia’s administrative capital city, this structure houses the highest courts of the country. While the ornate dome and imposing columns appear to have stood for centuries, it’s a creation of the 21st Century. Home to the Malaysian Chief Justice, it can be understood why a high court building could be so new, as Putrajaya has only been the country’s administrative capital since 1999.

Following a restructuring of Malaysia’s judicial system and the decision to relocate the government seat to the newly planned city, Putrajaya is a modern engineering marvel. With long malls and gardens, it is the antithesis of modern Kuala Lumpur, which had become congested by the end of the 20th Century.

With this in mind, the Palace of Justice carries a sense of order and power. Its symmetrical design is purposefully meant to symbolize the fairness that is expected of the courts, and the balanced rulings to be given out to the Malaysian people. It is a perfect mix of Western and Islamic architecture, with columns bearing the look of classical temples only to reveal honeycomb capitals holding the distinctly curved archways.

Entering the main hall, visitors must take note of the domed ceiling. Rising high above any court officials and constituents, it is yet another symbol, alluding to higher powers judging the court’s own decisions. No pressure.

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