Jewel Changi Airport nominated for World Architecture Festival award

Designed by award-winning architecture firm Safdie Architects, the centrepiece of Jewel is a 40m indoor waterfall alongside a five-storey garden with more than 2,000 trees and 100,000 shrubs from all over the globe. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The crown Jewel of Singapore has been shortlisted in this year's World Architecture Festival (WAF), an annual competition considered the Oscars of the architectural world.

Jewel Changi Airport, which opened to the public in April this year, has been nominated for the Transport Completed Buildings category at the awards.

It will go up against eight other projects, including the Hong Kong West Kowloon Station and Barangaroo Ferry Wharf in Sydney, Australia.

Designed by a consortium comprising award-winning architecture firm Safdie Architects, as well as architects from RSP Architects Planners and Engineers and Benoy, the centrepiece of Jewel is a 40m indoor waterfall alongside a five-storey garden with more than 2,000 trees and 100,000 shrubs from all over the globe.

It took four years to transform an open-air carpark into a 10-storey complex with shops, restaurants and attractions for visitors.

Ms Charu Kokate, principal at Safdie Architects, tells The Straits Times that her team is thrilled by the nomination as Jewel is a special and unique project for them.

She says: "Jewel Changi Airport has helped reimagine the centre of an airport as a major public realm attraction echoing Singapore's reputation as a City in a Garden. Our nomination for the WAF award is a great honour. We're proud of our work and hope that we win."

Lead architect Moshe Safdie had previously said that he expects Jewel to be a powerful icon for Singapore.

The Canadian-Israeli architect also designed Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and will be involved in the designing of MBS' new fourth tower.

Singapore is no stranger to the architectural award.

Last year, Kampung Admiralty, an integrated "retirement kampung'' in Woodlands, snagged the top prize of World Building of the Year at the awards. The same title was won by The Interlace condominium in 2015 and Gardens by the Bay's cooled conservatories in 2012.

This year's WAF shortlist include 534 projects across 70 countries, ranging from private residential and healthcare to hospitality and landscape, many of which demonstrate how buildings can play a major role in ensuring a more sustainable future.

A "super-jury" of highly respected representatives of the architectural world will decide on World Building of the Year. They include Mr Aaron Betsky, president of Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in the United States; Ms Anuradha Mathur, professor at the Landscape Architecture department in the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, and Ms Maria Warner Wong, design director of Singapore-based WOW Architects and Warner Wong Design.

Winners will be announced at the three-day festival which takes place later this year from Dec 4 to 6 in Amsterdam.

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