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

The distinctive glass and steel dome weighs 3,500 tonnes and soars 10 storeys into the air to glisten in the sunlight. An oculus at the apex of the roof channels water to create a stunning 40m Rain Vortex that forms the world’s highest indoor waterfall, transforming into a light and sound show at sunset.

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

Our acoustics team shaped the indoor aural environment along with key stakeholders, defining the 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 architectural differences, and rationalise the geometry in the best way for construction. We also carried out the technical assessment and inspection of the façade through fabrication, production and installation.

Opened in 2019, this dazzling architecture and engineering marvel adds a new dimension to one of the world’s leading airports.

Bridging design and buildability

To realise the inspiring design, Arup assisted the contractor to build the geometry of the domed façade, conducting geometric feasibility studies on construction buildability and providing design concepts for the glass roof and metal panel façades, excluding the steel structure. With the geometry agreed the model was refined to consider curvature, modulations, and the sizes of the glass and steel elements.

The multiple facets of façade design

With an approach focused on fine detail, we reviewed the specialist subcontractor’s drawings, method statements, procedures, temporary work proposals and submissions for visual mock-ups and performance prototype testing. Our specialists also conducted technical assessments and inspections at the factory to establish quality benchmarks and oversaw façade installation on site.

Tuning into the future soundscape 

Working with JCAD and the design team, Arup teams defined the acoustic and sound system requirements for the Jewel and its link bridges. We developed acoustic treatments to complement the design, studying waterfall mock-ups and analysing the predicted effects of noise from operations and activities to enhance visitors’ comfort and safety.

Arup helped assess the sound levels of the Rain Vortex, carrying out real-time measurements on mock-ups. Different locations and scenarios were examined in the modelled environment to replicate the wide variety of activities, live music and speech events that the upper floor of Jewel hosts.