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Massive indoor waterfall unveiled at Singapore’s already tricked-out airport

Curbed logo Curbed 13/3/2019 Liz Stinson
a close up of a garden © Photo: Peter Walker Partners Landscape Architects

Not a bad way to spend a layover

Airports are monuments to human ingenuity. Airplanes? Improbable. Moving walkways? Brilliant. Bottled water that cost $5? Annoying but savvy. What airports are not, for all their human-made conveniences, is natural.

Moshe Safdie is hoping to change that with his design for a new hub at Singapore’s Changi Airport, set to open April 17. Safdie, who’s perhaps best known for his famed brutalist apartment complex in Montreal, led the design of the Jewel Changi, a 144,000-square-foot addition to the international airport that will feature a terraced forest, shopping, and one very big waterfall.

a large tree: Terraces with plants © Photo: Charu Kokate Terraces with plants

Safdie worked with the engineers at BuroHappold Engineering to craft the gridded glass facade, which funnels inward like a doughnut. At the center of the glassy ceiling is a large waterfall—the Rain Vortex—that pours water at 10,000 gallons a minute from seven stories above. During Singapore’s notorious thunderstorms, the water feature will capture rainfall and recirculate it through the Vortex.

Glass ceiling © Photo: Charu Kokate Glass ceiling a large body of water with a city in the background: Exterior of domed glass ceiling © Photo: Charu Kokate Exterior of domed glass ceiling

But what’s a waterfall without a rainforest? Surrounding the Vortex are stepped terraces filled with more than 200 species of plants. Visitors can walk through the garden, relax in tree nets, or get lost in a hedge maze (a hedge maze!). The Singapore airport’s already cool amenities just got more tricked out.

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