View of Rain Vortex and sky trains in Jewel Changi Airport; View of Rain Vortex and sky trains in Jewel Changi Airport;

Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore

Realising an ambitious and dazzling design concept

Jewel Changi Airport is the latest addition to, and centrepiece of, Singapore’s world-renowned Changi Airport. Designed by Safdie Architects, this highly anticipated dome-shaped attraction houses a dynamic mix of retail, leisure, garden and hotel amenities, as well as airport operations. The development is open to the public and transit passengers and connects directly with Terminal 1 as well as Terminals 2 and 3 via link bridges.

Its distinctive domed façade is made of glass and steel, and glitters in the sunlight. At the apex of the roof is an oculus through which water is channelled to the building’s centre – creating a stunning waterfall feature. This 40m tall Rain Vortex is also the world’s largest indoor waterfall and transforms into a light and sound show after dark.

Arup was appointed by Jewel Changi Airport Development (JCAD) to provide acoustic consulting services for the project. We were also appointed by the main contractor Woh-Hup and Obayashi Singapore to provide facade engineering inputs during the pre and post-tender stages, and to build the model prior to development by the specialist façade contractor Mero.

Our acoustics team helped shape a pleasant indoor aural environment with the key stakeholders and defined acoustic and sound system requirements across the development. Working with the contractor, our façade engineering team used parametric modelling to streamline the façade design, resolve possible clashes with the architects, and rationalise the geometry in the best way for construction. We also performed the technical assessment and inspection of the façade during fabrication, production and installation.

Opened in 2019, this dazzling architecture and engineering marvel adds new dimensions and appeal to one of the leading airports in the world.

Project Summary


200+metres Span of the roof at its widest point

3,500tonnesWeight of the domed roof

10storeysTotal number of floors

It was a unique experience collaborating with multiple stakeholders along the entire value chain – from building the control geometry model to developing and refining it for fabrication. Our team demonstrated precision in digital design, which helped to improve the geometry and remove discrepancies from what’s designed to what’s built. ”

Michael Chin, Arup Michael Chin Facade Engineering and ESD Leader, Singapore

Bridging design and buildability

To realise the ambitious and inspiring proposed design, Arup assisted the contractor to build the geometry of the dome façade according to the architectural intent, conducted geometry studies on construction buildability and provided design concepts for the glass roof façade and metal panel façade which excluded the steel structure. When the geometry was set up and agreed, the model was refined to include studies for other parts of the façade such as curvature and modulations, as well as glass sizes and steel elements.

We also reviewed the specialist subcontractor’s drawings, method statements, procedures, temporary work proposals and submissions for the visual mock-ups and performance prototype testing. In addition, our specialists conducted technical assessments and inspections at the factory to establish quality benchmarks for fabrication and production, as well as during the façade installation on site.


Tuning into the future soundscape

Working with JCAD and the design team, Arup defined the acoustic and sound system requirements of the complex and link bridges to the terminals. We developed acoustic treatments that complemented the iconic design, studied waterfall mock-ups and predicted effects of noise from various sources on operations and activities within the space to enhance visitors’ comfort and safety.

Arup assisted in assessing sound levels of the Rain Vortex, including real-time measurements during mock-ups. Different locations and scenarios were then developed in the modelled environment to reflect the wide variety of activities, such as live music or speech events, on the topmost floor of Jewel.


Arup is privileged to help realise this iconic architecture from the design competition to its completion. We worked across our global network, drawing expertise from New York to Singapore, to help create a pleasant indoor acoustic environment housing the world’s largest indoor waterfall and one of Singapore’s largest indoor collections of plants. ”

Dr Xu Jingfeng Xu Jingfeng Technical Specialists Leader, Singapore
Bottom-up view of Jewel Changi Airport and the world's tallest indoor waterfall Bottom-up view of Jewel Changi Airport and the world's tallest indoor waterfall

Images on the right and bottom of the page ©Darren Soh