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Changi Airport

Changi district, Singapore


1981 - 2019


14 years




Project achievements

Economy boosted

Terminal 4 enabled the airport to handle an extra 16m passengers, and Jewel is expected to bring even more tourists and travellers to the area

Solved the problem

Expand the airport so that it can handle more passengers

Used engineering skill

Build a new terminal and tourist attraction on reclaimed land

Build a new terminal at Changi Airport, and construct a new tourist attraction for travellers passing through the airport

Changi is Singapore’s main airport and one of the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia. It’s currently rated the best airport in the world by UK airline consultancy Skytrax - the 6th year in a row Changi has won the award.

Changi is one of the world's busiest airports – both for numbers of international passengers and volume of cargo traffic. The airport is in the Changi district, at the eastern end of Singapore.

Over 100 airlines fly to 400 cities in around 100 countries from the airport. About 7,200 flights land at or depart from Changi every week – about one every 80 seconds.

The scheme handled 62m passengers in 2017 – the most in its 36-year history. Changi also saw its billionth passenger in 2017.

Recent developments at Changi have included a new Terminal 4 (T4) – opened in October 2017.

Current work includes Jewel Changi Airport, a ‘lifestyle destination’ within the main airport. The scheme – set to open in 2019 – will contain a hotel, shops, restaurants and tourist attractions.

T4 is a two-storey, 25m-high structure with a total area of 225,000m². It includes a car park, coach stands and taxi deck.

Jewel Changi Airport is an indoor leisure and retail complex. The scheme includes a 40m-high waterfall called the ‘Rain Vortex’. Airport bosses say the attraction will be the tallest indoor waterfall in the world.

Changi Airport

"Singapore Changi Airport truly encapsulates what the city strives for in innovation, technology and design" says Graduate CivilEngineer Prithula Roy Choudhury. The dome-shaped structure was designed to redefine what an airport should be, hosting Singapores largest collection of indoor plants.

Did you know …

  1. Toilets in Terminal 4 are located about 100m apart. There are 30 pairs altogether.

  2. One pair of toilets is in the airport’s ‘heritage zone’ and is designed in a ‘British colonial style’. This apparently means patterned floor tiles, pendant lamp shades and wooden ceiling panels.

  3. Another pair of toilets in the transit hall represents ‘modernity and hospitality’. There’s a large piece of wall art by design studio Giles Miller at the entrance.

Difference the project has made

T4 has boosted Changi’s annual capacity by 16m passengers – increasing income for the airport and providing more employment for the local economy.

Jewel Changi Airport aims to encourage passengers to stop over at Changi. Authorities hope the scheme will become a ‘signature destination’, boosting profits for the airport.

How the work was done

Land reclamation was a large part of work for the new Changi Airport in 1975. Early stages of the project saw engineers draining 2km² of swamp land and filling it with 12m cubic metres of earth from nearby hills.

Project workers built three canals to drain water from rivers on the site and used 40m cubic metres of sand to fill up the seabed. A total of 2,150 acres were reclaimed for the scheme.

The design for the T4 building drew inspiration from the petal of an orchid. The motif appears throughout the terminal; it’s visible in skylights, marble flooring and carpets. It’s even there in dustbins and holders for fire extinguishers.

Jewel Changi Airport’s design is based on Singapore’s reputation as a ‘city in a garden’. A key feature of the scheme is the five-storey indoor ‘Forest Valley’.

Project workers have planted thousands of trees, plants, ferns and shrubs for the scheme. Around 22,000m² of the complex will be landscaped.

Airport bosses say the indoor garden will be big enough for travellers to hike in. It will probably be one of the few valleys in the world to have its own air-conditioning.

People who made it happen

  • Client: Singapore government
  • Architect, Jewel Changi Airport: Moshe Safdie

More about this project