Jewel Changi Airport
© Changi Airport Group

Jewel Changi Airport

Safdie Architects en tant que Architectes.

Safdie Architects Appointed to Design Iconic New Development At Singapore Changi Airport

Jewel Changi Airport to Transform Air Hub into Public Gathering Space With Gardens, Retail, Hotel, Restaurants, and Entertainment For Travelers, Airport Community, and Local Residents

Safdie Architects has been appointed to design a major new addition to Singapore Changi Airport, which is the sixth busiest international airport in the world, handling more than 53.7 million passengers in 2013. The new development, also known as Jewel Changi Airport (Jewel), will enhance Changi Airport’s position as a major aviation hub, integrating airport facilities with shopping, entertainment, and leisure activity to create a public gathering space for Singaporeans and international travelers and establish a new model for airports as discrete destinations.

Strategically located at the heart of Changi Airport, Jewel is envisioned as a world-class lifestyle destination that will enable the Changi air hub to engage passengers and strongly boost Singapore’s appeal as a stopover location. To ensure a seamless flow of movement for passengers and visitors, Jewel will be connected to Changi’s Terminal 1 (T1) through its expanded Arrival Meeters and Greeters Hall, and linked to Terminals 2 and 3 by pedestrian bridges.

Housed under a soaring glass dome, Jewel will encompass a total gross floor area of approximately 134,000 square meters (1.4 million square feet) and feature an expansive garden, cabin hotel, restaurants, retail, and attractions in addition to its facilities for airport operations. The two centerpieces of the project are an indoor landscape of trees, palms, and ferns with walking trails, referred to as the Forest Valley, and the 40-meter-tall waterfall that will cascade from an oculus at the top of the glass dome, titled the Rain Vortex.

“This project redefines and reinvents what airports are all about. The new paradigm represented by Jewel Changi Airport is to create a diverse and meaningful meeting place that serves as a gateway to the city and country, complementing commerce and services with attractions and gardens for passengers, airport employees, and the city at large,” said architect Moshe Safdie. “Our goal was to bring together the duality of a vibrant marketplace and a great urban park side-by-side in a singular and immersive experience. The component of the traditional mall is combined with the experience of nature, culture, education, and recreation, aiming to provide an uplifting experience. By drawing both visitors and local residents alike, we aim to create a place where the people of Singapore interact with the people of the world.”

Jewel evokes Singapore’s unique identity as a “City in a Garden,” recalling the tradition of metropolitan centers with great parks. The route to Jewel on the main transportation roadway to Changi Airport is lined with large canopy trees and lush greenery, connecting the green exterior experience with that of the gardens on the interior. Safdie Architects has designed and realized two international travel centers prior to Jewel: Israel’s principal gateway, Ben Gurion International Airport, in 2004 and Terminal 1 at Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Canada, in 2007, which have helped to shape the vision for Jewel as a dynamic destination.

Design The curved geometry of the building creates a natural location for the Rain Vortex and easily accommodates connections from the garden center to the surrounding terminal buildings. This shape also provides inherent structural strength to the glass and steel dome facade, allowing the framework to be delicate in the tradition of glass conservatories, while also enhancing the immersive experience of the gardens within. The arching glass roof is supported by a series of tree-like structural columns that ring the inside edge of the roof garden and the gathering space at the top level of the development. The roof garden, known as the Canopy Park, has a series of garden-oriented attractions designed in conjunction with PWP Landscape Architecture (Berkeley, California), the landscape consultant for the project. The suspended roof arches over the covered atrium, which is connected at multiple levels to the surrounding retail floors.

At the heart of the project is a dramatic Rain Vortex that cascades from the oculus down to the center of the atrium. At night, this will become the backdrop for a light and sound show, which will be visible from the dining terraces that face into the garden center. Additionally, rainwater will be funneled into the waterfall and harvested for reuse. This unprecedented integration of leisure activities, natural amenities, and airport facilities represents an innovative approach to travel and the experience of these discrete activities.

Construction is expected to begin by the end of 2014, and Jewel is scheduled for completion at the end of 2018.

Jewel Changi Singapore Airport

Vitro Architectural Glass en tant que Fabricants.

Jewel Changi International Airport is more than a thriving international transportation center. With an indoor waterfall, rainforest, mirrored maze, topiary walk, interactive gardens, glass-bottomed bridge, and play and imagination stations sprawling beneath 550,000 square-feet of Solarban® 70 glass, the structure is also one of the world’s most innovative showcases of biophilic design.

City in a garden
Located on the site of a former parking lot and designed to handle more than 65 million passengers a year, Jewel functions as Changi’s main hub, connecting visitors to three of the airport’s four terminals and a host of attractions including an upscale shopping mall, entertainment complex and luxury hotel. Envisioned by architect Moshe Safdie as a “paradise garden,” serving the “city in a garden,” the center was constructed not just to attract more air travelers to Singapore, but to be a destination for people who live throughout the island-city.

The dome-shaped façade, which stretches more than 650 feet across its longest span, is a continuous grid supported by a ring of 14 tree-like columns and ring beam at the roof’s edge. Solarban® 70 glass was specified collectively by the project team for its ability to meet the building’s extraordinary range of demands.

Among the most critical was the ability to transmit high levels of sunlight into the dome while mitigating heat gain. With visible light transmittance (VLT) of 64% and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.27 in a standard one-inch insulating glass unit (IGU), Solarban® 70 glass helps Jewel sustain more than 200 species of trees, shrubs and flora collected from subtropical climates throughout the world.

These same characteristics also enable Jewel to reduce energy use without sacrificing occupant comfort, an achievement that earned it Green Mark certification at the Gold level from Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

The exterior reflectivity of Solarban® 70 glass was heavily scrutinized during the specification process as well. Extensive research and testing were conducted to ensure that glare emitted from the dome would not blind views from the air-traffic control tower or pilots approaching the two runways.

Finally, the glass also had to meet radarabsorbing material requirements established by airport authorities. These mandates stated that no glass materials or metal cladding with high reflectivity of radar signals between 1GHz and 3GHz could be used. Due to its triple-silver coating, Solarban® 70 glass was determined to provide the best combination of radio frequency (RF) attenuation and daylighting to sustain plant life.

Beauty and complexity
The fabrication of Jewel’s glass dome was incredibly complex, which provided a range of logistical challenges, not just for the architect, but for the building engineers, general contractor, glazing contractor, fabricator and other members of the project team.

Much of this was due to the placement of the giant waterfall, which drops more than seven stories from an oculus that spans 33 feet. Because the oculus and waterfall had to be placed slightly off-center, the glass dome had to be constructed in a slightly irregular shape. This lack of symmetry dictated the fabrication of more than 9,000 double-glazed triangular glass panels, including many with frit patterns, with no more than two panels being exactly alike.

Each glass panel also had to incorporate a 16-millimenter air gap to insulate against aircraft noise. In addition, many were restricted to a maximum width of 2,500 millimeters (8-plus feet) to accommodate SentryGlas™ Plus laminating material. 

Quality and logistics
To manage these intricate logistics, Safdie Architects developed a sophisticated design-to-construction program. More than 50,000 glass panels, steel members and custom-shaped solid steel nodes were fabricated by CNC robots directly from the design team’s computer models. Once the components were made, they were labeled with barcodes indicating where they should be installed on the dome; then placed in containers and shipped to Singapore.

Vitro Glass products were held to rigorous quality standards as well. In addition to meeting the specific performance requirements of acoustical, climate-control, radar and other consultants, Vitro Glass supplied samples from each production run for performance data verification by an independent lab.

The result of these efforts is a stunning biophilic landmark that simply would not have been possible without use of glass – and perhaps even more specifically, the use of Solarban® 70 glass.


Entro en tant que Consultants.

Jewel is a major public realm attraction at the core of Changi International Airport, creating world-class leisure, shopping and dining experiences, to increase Singapore’s profile as a tourist destination. The project includes a significant expansion of Terminal 1, a ground transportation centre, indoor gardens and leisure attractions, retail, food and beverage offerings and hotel facilities, all under a spectacular glass torus roof structure.

Seamless travel is a top priority for Jewel: as a central hub, it connects three terminals together, allowing passengers to transfer efficiently through the new complex, thereby increasing capacity. Our work includes a comprehensive identity and signage system along with wayfinding and digital communications that support the high level of customer service that Changi Airport is reputable for.

In addition to the expansion of Terminal 1, Jewel adds a multi-storey parking garage, retail shopping mall and experiential play space and a 40m high vortex waterfall. Maintaining Singapore’s reputation as the “garden city,” Jewel Changi’s centerpiece will be Forest Valley, a five-storey garden with thousands of trees, ferns and shrubs. In collaboration with Pentagram and Safdie Architects, Entro is providing all wayfinding and thematic graphics on the interior and exterior.

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