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Architects unveil first glimpse of new Singapore airport design

by Sion Geschwindt
Architects unveil first glimpse of new Singapore airport design

Heatherwick Studio and Kohn Pedersen Fox have revealed the first image of their designs for a new terminal at Changi Airport in Singapore, five years after they won the job.

The practices’ joint bid for Terminal 5 (T5) won a contest in 2018, following the announcement of the scheme in 2013.

However, work on the project, which is being undertaken by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, the country’s Ministry of Transport and Changi Airport Group, was paused in 2020 for two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The clients used this two-year hiatus to reassess aviation growth and review the building’s design to make it more modular, Architects’ Journal reports.

Design work has now resumed, with construction expected to begin in about two years’ time so that the terminal is ready to meet the anticipated demand for air travel in the mid-2030s. On completion, it will be able to accommodate about 50 million passengers a year.  

T5 is part of the 1,080ha Changi East development. This wider airport expansion project includes a three-runway system that is due to be operational by the mid-2020s and will see 40km of new taxiways built, construction of tunnels, new landside and aviation support facilities, and an industrial zone that will house an air cargo hub.

Proposed features to reduce the carbon footprint of the development include solar panels, smart building management systems, and district cooling combined with thermal energy storage. 

Trent Tesch, KPF design principal, said: “Our design for Terminal 5 is inspired by Singapore’s unique blend of nature and city.

“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 travellers and the greater public.”

Thomas Heatherwick, said: “Our intention is to redefine what an airport terminal can be. 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 travellers, our plan is to create a social space that people living in the city are excited to visit.

T5, which will be designed to accommodate robotics technology such as autonomous vehicles to transport baggage and cargo, will be linked to the airport’s existing four terminals. 

Design partners KPF and Heatherwick Studio are part of a wider team, led by KPF and Singapore-based Architects 61, that also includes local practices RSP and SAA Architects. 

Singapore’s DP Architects is providing retail design services for the terminal’s commercial spaces. Arup, Mott McDonald and Surbana Jurong are providing engineering services.

Image credit: (credit: Heatherwick Studio and KPF)

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