Nature, art and technology
Developing in step with the growth of the densely populated city-state of Singapore, whose booming turn-of-millennium economy established its position among the group of four “Asian tigers” alongside Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, the city’s main Changi airport now comprises four separate terminals. It dates back to the late 1970s when the first hub, now Terminal 1, was built in place of the obsolete Paya Lebar airport. The first major expansion phase was completed in 1991 with the construction of Terminal 2, creating an airport used by more than 10 million passengers a year. Over the following years it adopted increasingly modern and exclusive structures, including the first rooftop swimming pools, and in 1997 reached a capacity of 20 million passenger movements. The new millennium brought modernisation work and further expansions. In 2006, T2 was renovated and a third building – the Budget Terminal – was completed. In 2008, T1 underwent renovation and the new, modern Terminal 3 was opened, a glass and steel structure with an internal tropical garden inhabited by more than a thousand butterflies.
Terminal 4, completed in 2017 in place of the soon-demolished Budget Terminal, marks the latest step in the development of an enormous hub with a transport capacity of 82 million passenger movements a year and with further expansion work under way. The building project was awarded to a group led by the local practice SAA Architects and also including Benoy and Aecom following a design competition launched in 2013 by the Changi Airport Group. Covering an area of 225,000 sq.m (about half the size of T3), it extends over two levels and is organised around a central gallery (300 metres long, more than 20 metres wide and 18 metres high) which distributes passenger flows to the various functional spaces and separates the public zone from the boarding and disembarking areas. Alongside the hi-tech airport systems (including a fully automated boarding process), the meticulously-designed interiors stand out for their brightness and sense of space. In particular, the architects took account of feedback from passengers and airport workers with the aim of further raising the level of an airport that for almost 20 years has dominated the Skytrax annual rankings.
The spaces are inspired by a multiplicity of themes, including art, history and nature. Nature is present in various forms: it is recalled in the design of the lighting fixtures inspired by flower petals, in the coloured furnishings and in the carpets that cover a portion of the floors. On entering, passengers encounter a large green wall façade that extends inside and becomes part of the total of 2,000 square metres of landscaping illuminated by natural light filtering in through the large glazed surfaces. There is even sufficient light for trees to grow, including the boulevard of ficus trees separating the boarding area from the space open to the public. The interiors are dotted with works of art such as the suspended Petalclouds installation by the German designers Art+Com Studios which dominates the central gallery with its sequence of aluminium rings, while the historic quarters of many eastern cities provided the inspiration for the stylised sequence of coloured three-floor facades of the Heritage Zone retail outlets, a distinctive combination of eclectic details and Peranakan style.
Popular in the Far East for their quality, aesthetics and expressive potential, Italian ceramic tiles were used extensively for the floor coverings in T4. The chosen porcelain tile collection was Buxstone from Panaria Ceramica: colours Almond, Shell and Clay Wellness in sizes 60.3×60.3 cm and 60×60 cm rectified for the exterior and an alternation of Almond, Shell and Clay colours laid in sizes 60×60 cm, 30×60 cm, 90×90 cm and 60×90 cm in the interiors.
60x60 - 60,3x60,3 cm (exteriors) 60x60 - 30x60 - 90x90 - 60x90 (interiors)))
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): compliant
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): compliant
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): compliant
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): compliant
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant