A Glimpse Inside Safdie Architects' Jewel Changi Airport

Come admire the world's largest indoor waterfall

By: THURSD. | 18-11-2020 | 3 min read
Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore is not a bad place to have to wait. But because not everyone gets the chance to travel to Singapore - especially not in these times - this short film gives the viewer a look inside the famous airport where you can admire the world's largest indoor waterfall.

Short Film of Jewel Changi Airport

On the project's one-year anniversary, Safdie Architects has released a short film documenting its Jewel Changi Airport that forms an important part of Singapore's main airport. The focal point is the world's tallest indoor waterfall (which consists entirely of collected rainwater that gets pumped around with approximately 40.000 liters of rainwater per minute), surrounded by a 'forest valley' and a four-story garden filled with an abundance of plants and trees. The airport also features recreational facilities such as climbable sky nets, a hedge maze, and a series of slides.

The City in the Garden

The architects:
"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 center, and echoing Singapore’s reputation as 'the City in the Garden'."
A Glimpse Inside Safdie Architects' Jewel Changi Airport the world's largest indoor waterfall Image via DesignBoom

It's All Connected

The 135,700 sqm center has facilities for landslide airport operations, a stunning indoor garden, retail offerings, several leisure attractions, and a multitude of cafes, restaurants, and hotels. The center is directly connected to Terminal 1 and to Terminals 2 and 3 through pedestrian bridges. Each of the cardinal axes—north, south, east, and west—are reinforced by gateway gardens that orient the visitors and offer visual connections between the internal program elements of Jewel and the other airport terminals.
A Glimpse Inside Safdie Architects' Jewel Changi Airport terminal connections Image courtesy of Jewel Changi Airport

The Forest Valley

At the core of Jewel Changi Airport, you can find the Forest Valley, a striking indoor garden that offers many interactive experiences and features walking trails, cascading waterfalls, and quiet seating areas. In the midst of more than 200 different species of plants, flowers, and trees, is the world's tallest indoor waterfall that showers down from an oculus in the domed roof to the Forest Valley seven stories below. The waterfall helps with the cooling of the indoor landscape and collects a significant amount of rainwater that can be re-used in and around the center. Surrounding the gardens is a multi-level retail marketplace on five levels that access the garden via a series of vertical canyons.
A Glimpse Inside Safdie Architects' Jewel Changi Airport climbing nets Image courtesy of Jewel Changi Airport

Structural Elegance

The 4-minute video filmed by Helen Han captures the structural elegance of Safdie's design. The geometry of Jewel Changi Airport is based on a semi-inverted toroidal dome roof, measures 200 meters across at the longest span, and is only intermittently supported along the rim of the garden, which allows for an almost column-free interior. Additional features include a topiary walk, horticultural displays, and an event plaza for 1,000 people. With Jewel, the airport has become a destination on its own.

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