Singapore’s Changi Airport will soon have a new “Jewel”, an iconic mixed-use complex designed by the man behind the Marina Bay Sands.
World-renowned Canadian architect Moshe Safdie will lead a team to design a “stunning glass and steel facade that presents an impressive view of the complex – from both Airport Boulevard and the sky”, said Changi Airport.
The multi-storey complex, which features a waterfall as high as five storeys within a lush indoor garden, will also be a hub connecting the airport’s three main terminals by foot. Currently, the only way to get from Terminal 1 to T2 and T3 is by skytrain.
Construction of the project – currently codenamed “Project Jewel” – will begin next year, on the 3.5 hectare site where T1’s open-air carpark is now located.
Project Jewel is expected to be completed by 2018, and it marks Changi’s first build-and-manage partnership with a private firm.
The airport is in talks with CapitaMalls Asia to set up a joint-venture entity which will construct and run the new complex.
Changi Airport Group (CAG) will own a majority share, its spokesman Ivan Tan said, but did not divulge numbers. The cost for Jewel has not been finalised.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who unveiled plans for the project during his National Day Rally speech, called it “something special”.
Project Jewel signifies yet another step by Changi Airport to differentiate itself amid tough competition from rivals such as Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Korea’s Incheon International Airport and Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi.
CAG chief executive officer Lee Seow Hiang, believes that Jewel “ will swing travellers to choose Changi Airport, and Singapore”. He added: “We must take deliberate steps to enhance Changi’s attractiveness.”
As part of Project Jewel, T1’s arrival hall, baggage claim areas and taxi bays will be expanded, and handling capacity raised from 21 to 24 million passengers a year.
Changi can currently handle up to 66 million passengers a year, but this will increase to 85 million when the new Terminal 4 and T1 expansion are completed by 2018.
A fifth terminal will also be ready by the middle of the next decade, while Singapore is planning a third and fourth runway.
CAG also plans to increase its staff strength by about 180 people over the next four years, to staff the teams working on the two developments as well as other upcoming infrastructure projects.
This year alone, around 80 new employees will be recruited, said CAG.