Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Jewel Changi Airport to Transform Air Hub in Singapore by Safdie Architects
December 11th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Safdie Architects
BOSTON, December 5, 2014 — 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.
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.
Safdie Architects in Singapore
Safdie Architects has a long history of work in Singapore and has had a profound impact on the nation’s evolving urban design over the past two decades. The firm’s most recently completed project there is Marina Bay Sands—a high-density, mixed-use integrated resort that has become an iconic landmark of Singapore since its opening in 2011. The ten million sq. ft. district anchors the Singapore waterfront and forms a gateway to the city. Safdie Architects is also currently at work on the Sky Habitat Residential Development—a 38-story housing complex representative of high-density, high-rise, upper-middle-income, urban housing that is in great demand in Singapore and across Asia. Previous projects in Singapore include the Cairnhill Road Condominiums completed in 2003 and the Ardmore Habitat Condominiums completed in 1985.
In addition to their work together on the Sky Habitat project in Singapore, Safdie Architects and CapitaLand are collaborating on a ten million sq. ft. mixed-use project in Chongqing, China, as well as a large-scale retail development hub in Shanghai’s old Luwan district.
About Safdie Architects and Moshe Safdie:
Moshe Safdie is an architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and author who embraces a comprehensive and humane design philosophy. In keeping with a philosophical approach that Safdie has applied around the world for more than four decades, the design of each of his projects is responsive to local historic, cultural, and environmental contexts and grows out of a vision of the way it can affect the lives of the individuals for whom the buildings and public spaces are created. The firm has designed and realized a wide range of projects around the world, including cultural, civic, and educational institutions; mixed-use urban centers and airports; and master plans for existing neighborhoods and entirely new cities, many of which have become landmarks in their communities.
Notable projects include Habitat ’67 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort and ArtScience Museum in Singapore; the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles; and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri. Safdie Architects is based in Boston with offices in Toronto, Jerusalem, Singapore, and Shanghai.
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