Changi Airport in Singapore has already received quite a few awards. Last year, millions of passengers in a survey voted the airport the most popular in the world – for the sixth time in a row. And this year, too, the hub between Europe and Southeast Asia or Oceania could well again be in a top position in the Skytrax ranking.
The airport’s latest innovation, which attracts more than 65 million passengers a year, has not yet opened. Operators are gradually moving the central area into operation – a 137,000-square-meter iconic glass building that connects Terminals 1, 2, and 3, some with pedestrian bridges.
This “Jewel” project, which has been under construction for five years, is unique among airports. Because here not only passengers can relax and buy at the stopover. Also visitors from outside like tourists and locals have access to the glass entertainment complex.
“The heart and soul of Changi Airport” could set new standards in airport design, said the responsible office of Safdie Architects. The 80-year-old native Israeli Moshe Safdie has also designed the Marina Bay Sands, which opened in 2010 in Singapore. The complex of three skyscrapers interlinked at Skypark is now one of the city’s landmarks.
In the middle of the donut-shaped “Jewel” building, the waterfall “Rain Vortex” will splash out of a funnel in the middle of the glass dome. The largest indoor waterfall in the world, according to the airport, flows from a height of 40 meters, over seven of the ten floors. During the monsoon, about 40,000 liters of rain per minute should fall down and at the same time cool and moisten the structure and plants there. In the building, the water is then recycled – one of several measures to make the new building sustainable.
Other features of the building: a central garden over four floors, the “Forest Valley” with two walking paths through which crosses the airport railway. Thousands of trees, ferns, shrubs and other plants form a kind of jungle here. And the “Canopy Park” on the fifth floor, a 14,000 square meter amusement park with a 50-meter long glass-bottomed bridge, two gardens, a hall of mirrors, a maze and a function space. However, this “treetop park” should not be opened until the middle of the year.
But the stopover passengers and the visitors should not only stroll and relax, but also spend money. Around 280 shops, restaurants and snack bars are located around the “Rain Vortex”, including a brewery of the local tiger beer. The 130-room YotelAir hotel will open on the 12th of April. Passengers are offered early check-in lounges for 26 airlines, with a total of 100 airlines operating on the Changi.
With the “Jewel” opening, however, the expansion of the Singapore airport is still far from complete. The construction of Terminal 5 – the largest in the airport – will almost double capacity to 135 million passengers per year. Plans were already underway, said Singapore Transport Minister Lam Pin Min in parliament. Construction on the modernization and expansion of Terminal 2 is set to start soon – with automated check-in and limit switches and biometric baggage check-in.