The Singapore’s Changi Airport has long been thought of as a place to visit as well as more than a mere airport one uses to get on the plane to go to another place.
For the past decade, it was undefeated at the annual Skytrax “World’s Top Airports” awards. However, it lost its title in Qatar’s Hamad International Airport in 2021. In 2022, it was ranked at third in the rankings, slipping behind the repeat winners Hamad International in Tokyo and Haneda Airport.
Today, as tourists are returning to Singapore’s city state and its highly-prized airport after the removal of pandemic-related travel restrictions earlier in the season, Singapore is a focus for the next few years and that includes expanding.
Recent details have been revealed about Terminal 5, with officials declaring that the terminal will be an extension of society in Singapore and not simply another piece of transportation infrastructure.
“Airport as a city”
In an National Day Rally in late July, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong declared that T5 would increase capacity of 50 million passengers annually.
It’s an impressive number, considering the terminals, which are currently four in number, can handle around the equivalent of 82 million passengers per year.
While making his location, he pointed out that T5 is larger than the four terminals currently in use together.
“We are building one more new Changi Airport,” the official said. “It is huge.”
The construction of T5 will begin in the next two years and the terminal is set to open for passengers by the middle of 2030. The facility is part of the 1080-hectare Changi East development, it will be equipped with a three-runway system and will be connected to the four other terminals.
Lee stated his plans to build the terminal off for two years as a result of the pandemic. During this time, the long-term possibilities in air travel was evaluated and the terminal’s design was enhanced.
“We concluded that the future of aviation remains bright. Now, with borders re-opening, people are traveling again,” he added. “Passenger travel has already surpassed the half of levels pre-Covid-19.
“In the longer term, air travel will keep growing because of a fast-expanding middle class in our region. Hence we decided to go ahead and restart the T5 project.”
Changi Airport served 68.3 million passengers in the year prior to the outbreak. In the wake of the relaxation of quarantine and testing regulations the number of passengers travelled to Changi Airport reached 55% of levels pre-pandemic in July 2022, as per official figures for the airport.
Lee stated that Lee said that the T5 design is based on the current pandemic threats and is able to be scaled down and up and allow officials to separate passengers on different flights to reduce cross-contamination.
Additionally, the airport is expected to include contactless systems at touchpoints for passengers and upgraded ventilation systems. Regarding sustainability, the terminal of the airport will have solar panels as well as smart system for managing buildings. District cooling, in conjunction with thermal storage for energy will be installed inside the building that houses terminal passengers.
“When completed in the mid-2030s, T5 will show the world what sort of place Singapore is,” Lee said. Lee.
The terminal is jointly created by two global architectural companies KPF along with Heatherwick Studio.
According to information provided by the companies The concept is to envision Singapore’s new airport as collection of neighborhood -which is “an intuitive extension of Singapore itself.”
This means that it won’t be a single structure, but rather several human-scale spaces that will offer a variety of experiences, from small and intimate to huge and sprawling spaces.
“Our intention is to redefine what an airport terminal can be,” Designer Thomas Heatherwick in a statement.
“Most airports aren’t great places to spend time but Changi has always been different. Rather than making a single vast monolith on the outskirts of a city for the exclusive use of travelers, our plan is to create a social space that people living in the city are excited to visit.”
So , what exactly will it appear like? There are no renderings of the interior have been made public, however KPF’s chief designer Trent Tesch, says the concept is in the spirit of Singapore’s unique mix of city and nature.
“We are conscious of the international significance of this project, and are focused on creating not only an iconic building that is identifiably Changi Airport, but also a memorable and positive experience for travelers and the greater public,” the airport’s director stated in the statement.
The Changi background
Changi Airport opened in 1981 and replaced one-runway Paya Lebar airport.
In 1986, work was already underway in Terminal 2 — a response to the growing number of travelers — and the new terminal being opened to passengers in the year 1991.
However, it is the arrival of previously unheard of amenities that made the world’s traveler be attentive.
In the case of Changi Airport, for instance. The first pool for transit areas was built at Changi in 1995. This set off a succession of improvements which would further widen the gap between Changi and other airports around the world.
One of these was the addition of an information hub, movie theater and a sports venue in 1998.
Changi Airport Terminal 3 -that now features an impressive 12-meter mega slide as well as the butterfly garden was added to the list in 2008. Terminal 4 opened in the year 2017.
The next stop is Changi Jewel, which opened in the year 2019 giving residents who do not have plans to travel a reason to make the trip to the airport.
The complex features a striking doughnut-shaped exterior that is framed with glass and steel the space of 135,700 square meters (around 1.46 million sq. feet) is a multi-use area which is connected to three terminals at Changi Airport.
The project was built at SG$1.7 billion (about US$1.18 billion) and designed by the renowned architectural firm Moshe Safdie. Jewel is a 10-story structure with five of them above the ground and five in the basement.
The main attraction is the 40-meter tall (around 130 feet) The HSBC Rain Vortex that flows through an enormous oculus that is located at the center of the structure. It’s described as the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.
It also houses the 11-cinema IMAX theater, as well as Shiseido Forest Valley, a four-story park with trails for walking set in the more than 250,000 square feet green space and surrounded by an impressive Vortex waterfall.
It will take over a decade before Terminal 5 is opened, travelers are sure to have lots to be excited about when flying through Changi during the interim.