SINGAPORE: Changi Airport’s upcoming mixed development Jewel is rapidly taking shape, with the construction of the sparkling dome nearly complete at 75 per cent.
Pulling into Airport Boulevard, the distinctive facade wrought of glass and steel glimmers in the sunlight; it is hard to miss Changi Airport's soon-to-be-crowned jewel with its dome of more than 9,000 pieces of specially manufactured glass.
Work on the facade, which commenced in 2016, is due to be completed by June. The project is on track for a 2019 opening.
Expected to weigh more than 6,000 tonnes when completed – equivalent to the weight of 10 Airbus A380 planes – the facade’s complex installation process has proven to be quite a feat.
This is due in part to the sheer number of components, as well as custom-made glass panels and steel nodes, "with no single piece having the same dimensions and specifications", according to Jewel Changi Airport.
Each piece of glass weighs between 250kg and 300kg.
Mr Ashith Alva, head of project design at Jewel Changi Airport, explained that given the unique geometry of each glass panel, the installation process warrants precise coordination to ensure that each custom-made panel is fitted into the correct grid placement that it is planned for.
“To make sure we are getting the precision for the glass to be installed at its current location, we have QR codes. The installation manager can scan the code (on the glass) and from this, he will know exactly where it is to be located on site,” he said.
Given Jewel’s unique location at the airport, the glass panels were subjected to much study and scrutiny in the beginning stages, starting from the type of material.
To ensure that noise from aircraft is minimised, the glass panels were designed with an air gap of 16mm. This will serve as insulation from the noise emitted.
A series of tests and research was also conducted to ascertain that the glare from the building’s surface did not interfere with daily operations of air traffic controllers in the control tower next door.
"We looked at two factors quite closely - the impact on radar and the impact on glare. We worked with specialists over a period of two years to ensure these factors don't affect the surroundings," explained Mr Alva.
Located in front of Changi Airport’s Terminal 1, Jewel will offer a range of facilities including airport services, indoor gardens and leisure attractions, retail and dining offerings, as well as a hotel when it opens in 2019.