Future forward design thinking, responsive architecture and adaptive infrastructure, Mont Kiara's fascinating history sets the stage for Pavilion Mont' Kiara

Wander around Mont Kiara and ask for directions to the Segambut Dalam Rubber Estate, and you’ll likely get blank looks from most of the people. Yet, little more than 30 years ago, that’s what this upscale district of Kuala Lumpur was: A dense rubber estate on the outskirts of Damansara Heights and Sri Hartamas. Its first residential development opened in 1993 and since then the quarter has blossomed, quickly becoming one of the most sought after and exclusive residential postcodes in the city.

Diversity is never far from the surface in Kuala Lumpur. Even within that context, Mont’ Kiara boasts an exceptionally rich stew of cultures, with dozens of nationalities represented within the condominiums and gated community developments like Pavilion Hilltop Mont’ Kiara that make up this well-heeled neighbourhood. However, with a historically large population of Japanese, Korean and Singaporean residents, as well as a large contingent of Malaysians, its local, Asian identity is never in doubt.

There is a larger question at play: you can plan a development, a neighbourhood, even sketch the outlines of the community you would like to fashion, and design the elements and connectivity and infrastructure that will enable it to function as a hub. But how do you create a cosmopolitan identity? In most cities, those diverse and vibrant neighbourhoods tend to be low-cost and transient. A result of the collision between long term inhabitants and an endless stream of nomads and consultants moving in and out of short-term shared accommodation, seasonally altering the flavour and makeup of those urban villages.

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What factors made Mont’ Kiara such a hit with expatriates from the outset and enabled it to retain its multicultural character even as it evolved into a more settled and family-oriented community? As ever, location is a key factor. Its environs sit at the nexus of four major highways, enabling easy access to airports as well as downtown KL office blocks. KLCC and KL Sentral are within easy reach. Bandar Utama and routes to manufacturing bases like Kepong and Puchong lie across the Penchala Link. The North-South Expressway links Mont Kiara to all points up and down the west coast of the peninsula.

Its density also works in its favour. The zone retains a planned feel: residential developments like the upcoming Pavilion Mont’ Kiara use smart design and responsive architecture to ensure that residents feel a sense of space and openness inside their gates. Mixed-use developments have enabled multinational corporations to plant roots in the heart of the community, while there is an abundance of smaller commercial and co-share spaces that have encouraged dynamic fledgling and start-up companies to move into the district.

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The proximity of residential compounds like Pavilion Mont’ Kiara to retail developments including 1 Mont Kiara enhances that compact feel and adds to the walkability of the area. That density, coupled with an influx of day-workers, has seen it become a haven for new and boutique businesses, which in turn bring their own sense of energy and renewal. Pavement cafes and restaurants proliferate. Fitness, dance and wellness studios cater to the locale’s health needs. And a network of nearby international schools and colleges ensure that families are well served when it comes to meeting the educational needs of their children.

While there’s no sure-fire recipe to transform a former rubber estate into a successful and sought after township, Mont Kiara has managed to stay ahead of the curve throughout its 30-year history. In the process it has forged an identity as one of Kuala Lumpur’s coolest, family-friendly enclaves.


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