Winner 2021

Award for
Long Span Structures

Project Description

A 200m diameter gridshell that covers an interior forest. The structure is the largest of its kind in the world. It features a 40m indoor waterfall pouring from an opening in the roof. The design of the glass and steel roof responds to the geometrical constraints of the architecture. It also considers fabrication and procurement challenges.

Judge’s comments

The highlight of this project is the design of the complex 200m diameter glass-and-steel thin-shell gridshell roof, which encloses an interior forest and features a 40m indoor waterfall.

The gridshell has an irregular toroidal form and is supported at the perimeter as well by 14 interior columns. The structural design responded to the geometrical constraints of the architecture and was detailed to ensure ease of fabrication and assembly.

Geometrically, the gridshell is incredibly complicated. The waterfall vortex is not central, to avoid a pre-existing airport train that runs through the area.  Due to the off-centre placement, the toroid becomes slightly ellipsoidal in shape which means each of the 9,000+ triangular glass panels are dimensionally different.

In order to design intelligently and to create value, the engineers went to great efforts to carry out engineering studies and explore fabrication processes.

Project overview

Structural Designer

  • Buro Happold

Client Name

  • Jewel Changi Airport Trust


  • Changi, Singapore


  • Safdie Architects

Principal Contractor

  • Woh Hup-Obayashi Joint Venture

Key Contractors

  • RSP Architects & Engineers – Building and Infrastructure Engineer

    Mott MacDonald – MEP Engineer

    Planners Associates – Lighting 

    Atelier Ten – Environmental & Sustainable Design

    WET Design – Water Feature

    Images: © 1&2 - Timothy Hursley, 3 - Darren Soh 

Year Submitted

  • 2021