Jewel Changi Airport - Scale Magazine

Jewel Changi Airport is a Destination in Itself

Safdie Architects sets a new standard for community-centric airport design with the opening of Jewel Changi Airport.

Museums have become more than a place to collect artefacts and historic documents, it has moved on to being community spaces that bring together people who appreciate and perhaps share their happiness in the new spaces designed. Similarly, airports are now designed to be more than a hub for travellers. Airports now take on the role of bringing people together not just to travel to another place but to stay put and enjoy the time within the airport. A destination in itself.

Moshe Safdie - Scale Magazine

Moshe Safdie

The newest development at Singapore’s award-winning Changi Airport, Jewel, designed by Safdie Architects, which began its phased opening from April 15, 2019, is one such space. Jewel Changi Airport combines an intense marketplace and a paradise garden to create a new centre – “the heart and soul” of Changi Airport. Once open, Jewel hopes to establish a new paradigm for community-centric airport design, extending the airport’s principal function as a transit hub to create an interactive civic plaza and marketplace, combining landside airport operations with expansive indoor gardens and waterfall leisure facilities, retail, restaurants, and a hotel as well as other spaces for community activities.

Shiseido Forest Valley and HSBC Rain Vortex

View of Shiseido Forest Valley and HSBC Rain Vortex from the South Viewing Deck

Linked to the city’s public transportation grid and with open access to Terminal 1, and to Terminals 2 and 3 via pedestrian bridges, Jewel has the purpose of engaging both in-transit passengers as well as the public of Singapore.

“Fulfilling its mission as a connector between the existing terminals, Jewel combines two environments—an intense marketplace and a paradise garden—to create a new community-centric typology as the heart, and soul, of Changi Airport. Jewel weaves together an experience of being in nature with culture and leisure facilities, dramatically asserting the idea of the airport as an uplifting and vibrant urban centre, and echoing Singapore’s reputation as “the City in the Garden,” says  Jaron Lubin, Principal at Safdie Architects, “Jewel presents a new building prototype for connecting the city and the airport.”

Forest within the Airport

Hedge Maze at Canopy Park Changi Airport

Hedge Maze at Canopy Park, Visitors can weave their way through the tricky network of paths in Singapore’s largest hedge maze

To create an airport experience unlike any other, Safdie Architects integrated spatial and interactive experiences throughout a lush indoor garden and a five-level retail marketplace. The core of Jewel is the Forest Valley, a terraced indoor landscape featuring walking trails and quiet seating areas set amongst more than 200 species of plants. The Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, showers down seven stories from a central open oculus in the domed roof, compelling visitors with dramatic cascades during the day and performance light and projection experiences by night. During the region’s frequent and powerful thunderstorms, recirculated, natural rainwater will flow at more than 10,000 gallons per minute, which helps provide cooling and airflow in the landscape environment, collecting significant rainwater to be re-used in the building.

Jewel is slated to receive a Platinum rating from Singapore’s GreenMark program for environmentally sustainable buildings. An integrated system of glazing, static and dynamic shading, and an innovative and efficient displacement ventilation system was developed to achieve the required level of comfort for a diversity of activities, as well as to sustain the vast array of plant life.

Jewel Changi Airport - Crystal Clouds art installation

Night View of the Crystal Clouds art installation, Created by artists Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot

Canopy Park on the fifth level includes 14,000 sq.m. of attractions integrated within the garden spaces such as 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. The highly immersive features are designed to be both aesthetic and functional, providing pathways for traversing the space while delighting visitors with gorgeous sightlines, providing spaces for interpersonal interaction and community building, and creating a sense of wonder and discovery. Additional highlights include a topiary walk, horticultural displays, and an event plaza for 1,000 people.

We went inside Singapore airport’s new ‘Jewel’. Here’s what we saw :



square-meter (1,460,660 sq.ft.) glass-enclosed toroidal building

View of the Shiseido Forest Valley and HSBC Rain Vortex from Terminal 1

View of the Shiseido Forest Valley and HSBC Rain Vortex from Terminal 1


Pics courtesy: Jewel Changi Airport Development