Jewel in the East
Changi Airport was recently voted the best airport in the world – for the fourth year in a row. The airport, like Singapore itself, is not one to rest on its laurels however, and its current redevelopment looks like it isn’t going to relinquish its crown for some time to come. Scheduled for completion in 2018, Jewel Changi looks set to become one of the most incredible developments – never mind airport.
The project is a joint venture between Changi Airport Group and CapitaLand Mall Asia and aims to be not just a place where Singapore meets and greets the world, but a destination in its own merit. Changi’s reputation has been won by being a super-efficient, enjoyable and feature rich airport. Architecturally it has admittedly been nothing to write home about, and other world airports have taken the limelight in terms of visual splendour. All that is about to change however.
The designs for Jewel Changi are simply stunning. The 10 Storey structure – 5 above ground 5 below – is shaped like a massive donut, the glass and steel biosphere housing all the usual airport paraphernalia, F&B and retail outlets, but so much more. It is designed to bring nature, and the outdoors inside. Reflecting this and the star of the show is the Forest Valley, a 5 storey garden complete with thousands of trees, plants and shrubs. As well as being able to literally hike up the valley, commuters and visitors will be able to witness the world’s tallest indoor waterfall – the 40 metre high Rain Vortex, which transforms into a light and sound show at night.
Along with the Forest Valley, there will be 4 other gardens, each with its own unique layout and character. Canopy Park for example, will be a 13,000 square metre area featuring gardens, playgrounds, walking trails and restaurants.
The project will also feature its own 130 room hotel by international brand YOTEL, as well as food and retail options that will be chosen to reflect the island’s diversity and culture. These will range from high end international brands to small, local, independent concerns.
Not forgetting that this is an airport after all, there will be an upgrade to all the passenger services in the form of an “integrated multi-modal transport lounge” allowing passengers to transfer or check-in with ease. There will also be extensive early check-in facilities so travellers will be able to check-in and drop off luggage ahead of regular check-in times.
Last but not least there will be brand new subway links connecting all terminals to the MRT network.
The airport saw 54.1 million passengers through its doors in 2014. With the completion of terminal 4 next year, and the opening of Jewel the following year, those numbers are expected to rise to 85 million. It is the airport’s hope, that every one of those has a visit to remember.
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