The National Mosque of Malaysia is located in Kuala Lumpur. It has a capacity of 15,000 people and is situated among 13 acres (53,000 m) of beautiful gardens. The original structure was designed by a three-person team from the Public Works Department - UK architect Howard Ashley, and Malaysians Hisham Albakri and Baharuddin Kassim. The mosque was built in 1965 on the site of a church, the Venning Road Brethren Gospel Hall which had stood there since 1922 but appropriated by the Malaysian government. The mosque is a bold and modern approach in reinforced concrete, symbolic of the aspirations of a then newly-independent Malaysia.
Its key features are a 73-metre-high minaret and an 18-pointed star concrete main roof. The umbrella, synonymous with the tropics, is featured conspicuously - the main roof is reminiscent of an open umbrella, the minaret's cap a folded one. The folded plates of the concrete main roof is a creative solution to achieving the larger spans required in the main gathering hall. Reflecting pools and fountains spread throughout the compound.
Local reports have drawn metaphors about the significance of its main roof: 18 points symbolise the (then) 13 states of Malaysia and the Five Pillars of Islam. However, design member Hisham Albakri revealed in an interview with Badan Warisan Malaysia that this was erroneous.