A close-up look at Jewel Changi Airport’s facade installation
Iconic glass and steel facade in the final stage of completion
Singapore, 18 April 2018– Visitors travelling along Airport Boulevard will notice the gradual formation of Jewel Changi Airport’s (Jewel) iconic infrastructure as work on its distinctive glass and steel facade enters the last lap towards completion.
The entire Jewel facade is made up of more than 9,000 pieces of specially manufactured glass, close to 18,000 pieces of steel beams and over 6,000 steel nodes. The complexity of the facade installation is due in part to the sheer number of components, as well as the custom-made glass panels and steel nodes, with no single piece having the same dimensions and specifications. The entire facade will weigh more than 6,000 tonnes.
Given the unique measurements of each glass panel, the installation process warrants precise coordination to ensure that each panel is fitted into the correct ‘grid’ placement that it is planned for. Meticulous execution is also required as the glass panels are transported from the ground level to the top of the facade for the roof installation. Please refer to the annexes below for more information about the facade installation.
To date, 75% of the overall construction has been completed and Jewel is on-track to open in 2019.
• Each piece of glass is unique in size to create the necessary shape and structural support of Jewel’s iconic facade. In addition, each piece of glass is custom-made to fit into a specific grid based on the functional design of the facade.
The glass panels are made of high-performance, triple Low-E architectural glass with the dual ability to:
• Transmit light to enable the vast landscaping in Jewel to thrive;
• Reduce heat to ensure sustainable cooling of the complex’s interior.
Between 250 kilograms (kg) and 300kg (per piece of glass)
• The specifications of the glass panels are carefully considered given Jewel’s unique location within the Changi Airport aerodome.
• To ensure that noise levels of the aircraft are kept to a minimum in the building, the glass panels are designed to have an air gap of 16 millimetres (mm) to serve as insulation against the noise emitted.
• A series of tests and research was also conducted to ascertain that the glare emitted off Jewel’s surface will not interfere with the daily operations of the air traffic controllers (since Changi Airport’s air traffic control tower is situated right next to Jewel).
• The entire study, engineering and shortlisting of the glass material, took two years to complete.
• Every piece of steel node is unique and they are custom-made in Germany.
• The nodes are manufactured using the Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) applications from steel bars to achieve the highest level of accuracy and prevent distortion caused by welding during installation.
• This customised and computerised production method in turn enables a simplified fabrication of the steel beams such that they collectively come together to attain an overall geometry of the grid shell dome.
• The complexity of the roof installation is a feat of its own. Given the unique dimensions of each glass panel, the facade installation warrants precise coordination to ensure that each panel is fitted into the ‘grid’ that it is designed for.
• It also requires meticulous execution as the panels are transferred from the ground level to the top of Jewel’s facade.
• The process started from the oculus (opening of the Rain Vortex in the roof) outwards, towards the edge of the Gateway Gardens and the installation is done in parts.
• The complex installation will require more than a year to complete. It started in end 2016 and is estimated to be completed by mid 2018.
Step 1: The glass panel is inspected at the ground level of the construction site and prepared prior to the actual hoisting.
Step 2: A hydraulic pump (with a capacity of approximately 800kg), is installed to lift one piece of glass panel (average weight of around 250kg – 300kg). Belts are also fastened around the glass panel as an additional safety measure.
Step 3: Right before the lifting, a supervisor scans the QR code on the glass panel to verify the exact installation spot on the facade.
Step 4: The glass panel is lifted to a height of 45m for the installation of the roof.
Step 5: A group of three to four abseillers (or ‘spidermen’) stationed on the roof will receive the glass panel and fix it on the exact spot for installation.
Step 6: Once the glass is in position, the abseillers will secure the panel by drilling it into the grid before applying sealant around the edges of the glass to complete the installation process.