It’s a Park; It’s a Shopping Mall; It’s an Airport

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September 1, 2019
waterfall from ceiling
Photo by Darren Soh. Courtesy of Safdie Architects.
Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport now contains a 135,700-square-meter mall camouflaged by a 5.6-acre atrium garden, a record-tall waterfall, and an elevated train slicing through it. The Jewel is the central connector between the existing airport terminals.

Designed by architect Moshe Safdie of Cambridge, MA, and engineered by RSP Architects Planners & Engineers Pte Ltd., five stories of retail are hidden by a forest under glass. The $1.25-billion project is almost completed.

At the apex of Jewel’s glass roof is an oculus that showers water 130 ft. (40 m) and is billed as the “world’s tallest indoor waterfall,” serving as a 360-degree screen for sound and light shows run at night.

Airflow from the heat stack effect in the garden and heat beating down on the glass roof is mitigated by cool terraced landscaped levels and heat-stratification-based ventilation, as well as from cooling by the waterfall. Spectrally sensitive glazing offers high visual light transmittance and low solar gain. Retractable sails shade the event space, and roof smoke vents exhaust hot air.

Jewel also has a hotel and movie theater—all covered by the world’s largest gridshell to enclose a building, according to the roof designer, the New York City office of Buro Happold. Gridshells—also known as thin shells—are shallower for the same span than trusses or space frames. The roof structure contains more than 6,000 solid steel nodes and 15,000 members entering the node at different angles and with different depths.

View the highlights of Jewel in the video embedded below.

— Architectural Record, ENR, and Safdie Architects

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