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Rain Vortex, the structure's centrepiece (image: Safdie Architects)

Changi Airport’s US$1.3bn futurist garden mall

Changi Airport Singapore is already the world’s most recognised airport, but this will make it positively otherworldly.

Not content with already being one of the pleasantest airports in the world, Singapore Changi is about to unveil a brand new experience that will connect its four terminals.

Jewel is a multi-dimensional tourist complex that will open its doors to international guests on April 17, and before that to Singapore residents between April 11 and 16.

The 130,000-square-metre complex will have 10 floors – five above ground and five below – filled with gardens, attractions, 280 shops and the 130-cabin Yotelair Singapore Changi Airport hotel.

Designed by a consortium including Safdie Architects, led by the famous architect Moshe Safdie who also designed the iconic Marina Bay Sands, it will feature a dome-shaped glass-and-steel façade.

The centrepiece is the 40-metre-high Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, surrounded by a verdant Forest Valley. As a whole, the new “magical garden” has reportedly cost US$1.3 billion to build.

Not an ordinary mall
“I wanted to explore a new kind of urban space, a space you go to as a matter of course, because you need to shop, because you’re flying out somewhere, and yet it’s a garden – somewhere that says ‘let’s rethink what the public realm is, let’s rethink what it is to shop,” Safdie said.

“I think one of the reasons [we won] the bid was that the other submissions looked like malls and felt like malls, while this one, you don’t think of it as a mall because it’s a new kind of experience. It makes us rethink what urban centres could be like if we stretch our thinking.”

Changi Airport Singapore is already the world’s most recognised airport, with 590 awards given to it so far. Jewel will be located in front of Terminal 1 and easily accessible both to locals and arriving or departing passengers.

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