The opening of Jewel Changi Airport to the world tomorrow is an example of Singapore's efforts to stay relevant to others by exceeding its expectations of itself. What once was Terminal 1's open-air carpark has been transformed beyond spatial, commercial and aesthetic recognition by the appearance of Jewel. With more than 280 shops and food and beverage outlets, it resembles a mega shopping mall. But it is more than that. The 14,000 sq m Canopy Park, the size of 11 Olympic-size swimming pools, is located on the top floor of the 10-storey development, distinguished by its dome-shaped facade made of glass and steel. Functionally, Jewel will justify its presence at Changi by offering travellers a host of aviation facilities that would enhance their experience. It should help to keep Changi and Singapore at the vanguard of the aviation industry, which is marked by intense competition, not least from regional challengers such as Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Seoul.
However, what is more remarkable about Jewel is that it is an act of imaginative daring. Who would have thought that a humble carpark could transform into the site of a skyline-altering enterprise? Renowned Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie must be complimented for the transformative vision that has made Jewel possible. Of course, he could not have done so without the support of politicians, bureaucrats and others here who refused to be content with a carpark when a Jewel could do. The development is a testament to the possibilities of collaboration between administrative foresight and architectural genius.