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Malaysia’s love affair with brand-name architects has reshaped Kuala Lumpur’s skyline. America’s César Pelli designed the dual corncobs of the Petronas Twin Towers. London-based Foster + Partners created the razor-edged Troika condominium and the jewel-cut Ilham Tower. Malaysia’s Hijjas Kasturi created the bamboo-shoot-inspired Telekom Tower.
Then there’s Veritas. In an era of star architects, Veritas Design Group has bucked the trend locally and internationally by declining to define itself by any one architect or architectural style.
Instead, the firm founded by Harvard-trained David Mizan Hashim has made a name over three decades as a stalwart of the Malaysian architecture scene, quietly scooping up commissions for everything from office towers and airport buildings to hospitals, train stations and private homes. It is now the country’s second-largest architecture firm, with 330 staffers led by 14 architect principals; 5 of them head Veritas offices overseas. (The largest firm by staff size is GDP Architects, led by Kamil Merican.)
The decision to promote the firm rather than an individual is a deliberate one, says Hashim, who started Veritas straight out of architecture school 28 years ago. “I purposely don’t want all decisions to come from me,” he says, wearing a yellow hard hat and construction boots and riding up the open elevator at the construction site of the 55-story W Hotel downtown, the firm’s latest project. “My strategy is planned obsolescence.” […]