Jewel Changi Airport re-imagines the center of an airport as a major public realm attraction. Jewel offers a range of facilities for landside airport operations, indoor gardens and leisure attractions, retail offerings and hotel facilities, all under one roof. A distinctive dome-shaped façade made of glass and steel adds to Changi Airport’s appeal as one of the world’s leading air hubs.
Based on the geometry of a torus, the building is designed as a new central connector between the existing airport terminals at Singapore Changi Airport. Directly connected to the Terminal 1, and linked to Terminal 2 and 3 via linkage bridges, the building serves both in-transit passengers as well as the public at large. At its core is the Forest Valley, a terraced garden attraction that offers many spatial and interactive experiences for visitors. The Forest Valley also includes walking trails, cascading waterfalls, and quiet seating areas. Surrounding the gardens is a multi-level retail marketplace on five levels, which features access to the garden via a series of vertical canyons.
At the apex of Jewel’s glass roof is an oculus that showers water down to the center of the building. The Rain Vortex will be the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, transforming into a light and sound show in the evening. Additionally, rainwater is funneled into the waterfall and harvested for building services and landscape irrigation systems. At peak conditions, water will flow through the oculus at more than 10,000 gallons per minute.
Jewel represents an innovation in the world of lifestyle/retail design, with a one-of-a-kind relationship between garden and marketplace. In addition, nowhere in the world has a building been constructed that integrates the public realm with an airport facility so closely. The building extends Changi Airport’s principal function as a transit hub, to a public gathering space for Singaporeans and international travelers, establishing a new model for airports as discrete destinations for shopping, entertainment, and social activity.
Jewel is slated to receive Singapore’s GreenMark Platinum status. The building’s efficient displacement ventilation system regulates the thermal comfort for occupants as well as the vast array of interior planting within. The Rain Vortex is a water collector, and also supports a gentle breeze throughout the garden spaces. Two nature trails meander through the forest climbing 30 vertical meters from bottom to top.
On the 5th level is the Canopy Park, which includes 14,000 square meters of attractions integrated within the garden spaces. These include net structures suspended within the trees, a suspended catenary glass-bottom bridge walk, a planted hedge maze and mirror maze, and feature installations completed in collaboration with internationally acclaimed artists. There is also a topiary walk and other horticultural displays. On the north side of the park is an event plaza space big enough to serve 1,000 people.
From the Engineers: BuroHappold
Located on a site formally occupied by a car park, Project Jewel will be situated opposite the airport’s existing Terminal 1 building. BuroHappold Engineering is working alongside the architects to provide structural and facade engineering services to deliver the skin of this iconic structure. The outer shell of the building poses significant challenges in terms of structural behavior, geometrical complexity and constructability.
“The complex form of Project Jewel’s iconic outer shell will be realized with the use of the most advanced BIM tools”.
By using the most advanced building information modeling (BIM) tools to optimize the design and working very closely with Safdie Architects, the engineering teams were able to rationalize and develop the design of the envelope to tender drawings. Key to this was BuroHappold’s experience and knowledge of detailing and construction technologies in long span applications. This created a design that was not only beautiful but also buildable and affordable.
Unique in its approach to realising an outstanding transport destination, Project Jewel will reinforce Jewel Changi Airport’s position as the world’s ‘best’ airport, providing an exceptional experience for travellers as well as stunning architectural design.
“The stunning ‘rain vortex’ will be the centerpiece of a development where nature meets the built environment”.
Article courtesy of Safdie Architects