For Post-Pandemic Airports, Singapore’s Jewel Leads the Way

As post-pandemic travel resumes, airport design is beginning to address new realities of protecting traveler health and wellbeing. These challenges point toward new ideas informing aviation hubs in the future — ideas embodied in Singapore’s recently opened building, The Jewel at Changi Airport.

According to our airport specialists and engineers, models of success such as Singapore’s Jewel show how people-centric destinations and community resources can become havens for healthy, equitable travel. Newly reopened this month, the high-profile travel hub — full of restaurants, retail offerings and green plantings and a massive indoor waterfall — offers important benefits in the current climate, including extensive healthy public space and efficient, comfortable operations conducive to social distancing and infection control.

All these ideas, and more, are detailed in a newly published book, Jewel Changi Airport, published by The Images Publishing Group and edited by Sam Lubell and Jaron Lubin. As laid out in the new book, Jewel Changi Airport combines retail, restaurants, a hotel, and garden and leisure facilities in a translucent gridshell structure with architectural design by Safdie Architects and creative engineering and design solutions by our specialists.

About the video

Our team engineered the world’s largest gridshell to enclose a building. The innovative glass and steel roof structure spans more than 200 meters (650 feet) at its widest point, with only intermittent supports in the garden – the result is an interior that is almost column free. The 6,000 ton cover is made up of more than 9,300 dimensionally unique, triangular glass roof panels! Hear from the design team including Moshe Safdie, Charu Kokate, Jaron Lubin of Safdie Architects; Cristobal Correa of Buro Happold; Meredith Davey of Atelier Ten; and Adam Greenspan of PWP Landscape Architecture.

Linked to airport terminals and Singapore’s public transit, the project has garnered international acclaim for expanding one of the world’s busiest aviation facilities into a publicly accessible civic plaza and marketplace — creating a completely unique destination that shifts the concept of an airport’s role within its community.

How our experts can help

Our experts, including Patti Harburg-Petrich and Varughese Cherian, can discuss how Jewel Changi Airport exemplifies other relevant aviation industry trends such as the increasing use of robotics, evolving high-tech security systems such as biometrics, and the rising reliance on self-service kiosks and automated services. 

Buro Happold also recently debuted a number of related adaptation services that support pandemic recovery, including “people-flow modeling” to protect travelers and aid social distancing, as well as research on HVAC systems for safer and healthier interior environments. The firm has also unveiled new strategies for more effective mobility and transportation.

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