The 10-story Jewel, offering visitors a forest, indoor waterfall and more than 280 stores and restaurants, hopes to make the Singapore airport a destination in itself.
At first glance, visitors to the new Jewel complex at Singapore’s Changi Airport might feel like they have entered some mythical dimension. An indoor waterfall — the tallest in the world — drops 130 feet from an oculus the size of a bus. A Canopy Park has nets for bouncing and walking strung as high as 80 feet above the ground. A forest of 1,400 trees provides greenery and shade.
“Singapore is a tourist destination, but 30 percent of the people coming through Changi don’t visit,” said Ivan Heng, a senior vice president for Changi Airport Group. The government wants to draw those passengers on connecting flights, get them out to experience a taste of Singapore, so that they might come back for a longer stay.
As entry to the Jewel does not require airport security screening, Mr. Heng believes locals will also arrive in droves. Officials estimate between 40 to 50 million people will visit during the first year, he said, 60 percent of whom are expected to be residents.
“Gardens have always been a place of pleasure,” said Charu Kokate, the principal at Safdie Architects who oversaw the project. “The sky, the waterfall, the people hidden by the landscaping. Through the glass roof you can see a plane flying overhead, up there are reflections of people next to the slide,” she said. “It’s very active and yet tranquil.”
Excerpted from piece by Sanjay Surana. Read the complete article on The New York Times site or download it as a pdf below.
All images credit to Changi Airport Group.