new photographs offer a first look inside the mixed-use development currently under construction at singapore’s changi airport. designed by safdie architects, ‘jewel changi airport’ — conceived as a combination between an intense marketplace and a paradise garden — will open on april 17, 2019. the centerpiece of the design is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, while other features include an expansive indoor forest, tree-top walking trails, restaurants, retail, and a variety of gathering places, open to both travelers and the public.

jewel changi airport singapore
the ‘rain vortex’ is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall
all images courtesy of safdie architects



‘jewel weaves together an experience of nature and the marketplace, dramatically asserting the idea of the airport as an uplifting and vibrant urban center, engaging travelers, visitors, and residents, and echoing singapore’s reputation as ‘the city in the garden,’ says moshe safdie. the development extends changi 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.

jewel changi airport singapore
quiet seating areas are set among more than 200 species of plants



linked to the city’s public transportation grid and with open access to terminal 1, and to terminals 2 and 3 via pedestrian bridges, the 134,000-square-meter (144,000 sq.ft.) glass-enclosed toroidal building is entirely publicly accessible. ‘jewel presents a new building prototype for connecting the city and the airport,’ says jaron lubin, principal at safdie architects. ‘like an ancient greek ‘agora,’ it aligns social and commercial values to create an animated public realm destination.’

jewel changi airport singapore
BuroHappold engineered the steel structure and developed the building’s complex façade systems



the core of the design is the ‘forest valley,’ a terraced indoor landscape featuring walking trails and quiet seating areas set among more than 200 species of plants. here, the ‘rain vortex,’ the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, showers down seven stories from a central open oculus in the domed roof. 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 changi airport singapore
the development will extend the airport’s function as a transit hub to create a civic plaza and marketplace



to realize the project, safdie architects brought together and led a global collaboration of talent in the fields of engineering, landscape architecture, water feature design, interior design, and art. BuroHappold engineered the steel structure and developed the building’s complex façade systems, while atelier ten developed the site’s climate control, daylighting, and environmental systems. singapore-based firm RSP served as the project’s executive architect, working in close collaboration with safdie’s boston and singapore offices.

jewel changi airport singapore
the project shown in an earlier phase of construction



PWP landscape architecture worked closely with the team to shape and develop the lushly landscaped ‘forest valley,’ and led the design of the gardens. to create the first climate-controlled, indoor forest, PWP carefully selected plant life that would thrive within the targeted interior conditions and create a garden without draining resources. PWP collaborated with singapore-based ICN to develop and deliver the landscape design. WET engineered the ‘rain vortex’ at the center of the forest valley garden. the firm developed a system that integrates sounds with projections from 360 degrees around the vortex to enable nightly light shows upon the waterfall.

jewel changi airport singapore
an aerial view of the building’s roof structure



benoy collaborated with the team to design the retail identity for the project, as well as the ‘meeter-greeter hall’ — the key interface with terminal 1. meanwhile, pentagram, working in collaboration with entro, designed a comprehensive program of signage and wayfinding. the signage is integrated with the architecture to create a system of way-finding that references the project’s urban character and works together to guide travelers. the project’s phased opening commences april 2019.

jewel changi airport singapore
rendering illustrating the anticipated appearance of the completed scheme

jewel changi airport singapore
the waterfall will cascade from a central oculus positioned in the roof canopy

jewel changi airport singapore
the development will transform the city-state’s main air hub into a public gathering space

jewel changi airport singapore
the 134,000 square meter project has been conceived as a destination in its own right

jewel changi airport singapore
overall illustrative plan (click to enlarge)

jewel changi airport singapore
section through retail and gardens (click to enlarge)



project info:


project name: jewel changi airport
client: jewel changi airport trustee pte ltd
location: changi airport, singapore
building area: 134,000 sqm
program: airport operations, indoor gardens, leisure attractions, retail offerings, hotel facilities
design architect: safdie architects
project design: moshe safdie
project principals: jaron lubin, charu kokate, greg reaves
design team: david foxe, seunghyun kim, benjy lee, dan lee, reihaneh ramezany, laura rushfeldt, isaac safdie, damon sidel, temple simpson, andrew tulen
executive architect: RSP architects planners & engineers pte ltd
landscape design: PWP landscape architecture
executive landscape architect: ICN international singapore
structure: RSP architects planners & engineers pte ltd
façades: buro happold
engineering ESD: atelier ten
MEP: mott macdonald
signage/wayfinding: pentagram and entro communications
retail interiors: benoy
water feature: WET design
lighting: lighting planners associates