Singapore Airport Extension

Covered Waterfall


Courtesy of Jewel Changi Airport Devt

From the great greenhouses of the 19th century to the ‘climatops’ proposed by Richard Buckminster Fuller in the mid-20th century, taming nature to reproduce it in artificial environments has been one of the major impulses of modernity. So has it been, apparently, for Moshe Safdie, the Israeli architect known for his brutalist buildings, who recently finished enlarging Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport with an immense doughnut-shaped dome built over a space colonized by vegetation, echoing the Southeast Asian island city-state’s reputation as a ‘the city in the garden.’ Here plants grow on an artificial topography of seven levels, reaching all the way to the roof’s light structure, a warped grid of steel profiles. The surrealist image produced by the combination of high technology and a tropical flora is reinforced by a final spectacular effect: the roar of a cascade of natural rainwater falling as if by magic from the oculus of the dome straight into the center of the building.

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