KPF and Heatherwick Studio have revealed the design for the fifth terminal of Changi Airport in Singapore. The concept behind it revolves around the concept of “airport as a city”, presenting itself as a social extension of the namesake district of Changi, at the eastern end of Singapore. The terminal is planned to add a capacity of 50 million passengers per year. Instead of a single monotonous structure, the terminal is comprised of a series of human-centered social spaces, offering different qualities of light, atmosphere, and experience to both visitors and residents of Singapore.
Our intention is to redefine what an airport terminal can be. Most airports aren’t great places to spend time, but Changi has always been different. Rather than making a single vast monolith on the outskirts of a city for the exclusive use of travelers, our plan is to create a social space that people living in the city are excited to visit. We want to break away from the typical airport experience that you find remorselessly copied around the world and instead offer a human and homely collection of spaces filled with activity and daylight for travelers and Singaporeans alike. - Thomas Heatherwick
The airport is seen as an integral part of the district of Changi, channeling both the city’s natural landscape and urban scale. Terminal 5 will be located within the 1,080-hectare Changi East development, with its design taking into consideration matters of flexibility and traffic growth. Smaller sub-terminals are an integral part of the design, as an effort to create a safe environment and reduce the transmittance of diseases. The system includes contactless systems at passenger touchpoints and enhanced ventilation systems, thus integrating the lessons learned during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Terminal 5 is designed to accommodate and facilitate the deployment of technology, such as autonomous vehicles and baggage handling robots that automate airport operations and enhance the passenger experience. This also aims to empower enterprises to develop new capabilities in emerging areas such as robotics and artificial intelligence, thus offering the opportunity to create jobs for Singaporeans within the airport ecosystem.
KPF and Heatherwick Studio were selected to design the new terminal in 2018. Changi T5 will be Heatherwick Studio’s third project in Singapore following the Nanyang University Learning Hub and EDEN, an apartment building in the historic Newton District of Singapore. Similarly, the terminal project aligns with KPF’s interest in infrastructure projects, such as Abu Dhabi International Airport or the 5M Development in downtown San Francisco, USA.