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World's Tallest Waterfall to Hit Singapore Airport

Thursday, June 15, 2017

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Singapore’s Jewel Changi airport extension will soon be home to the world’s largest indoor waterfall.

According to reports, the Rain Vortex is over 130 feet high, and fed by recycled rainwater that falls from the oculus of the dome. This creates an eye-catching centerpiece for the Forest Valley part of the airport extension, which features multi-level gardens, lush walking trails and retail, hotel, restaurant and entertainment spaces.

The innovative waterworks, currently being built, was designed by WET, a firm also responsible for creating fountains for the Bellagio in Las Vegas and the Sochi Olympics. WET has already begun designing light shows for the Rain Vortex, which will make the waterfall glow.

Jewel Changi Airport is the world’s sixth busiest airport.

Scale Model

In order to put this plan together, WET built a one-fifth scale model of the Rain Vortex. However, water can be difficult to scale accurately. As Wired explains, water does not flow a fifth as fast in a one-fifth scale model. This results in some complex math in order to convert the model results into numbers that would apply to the real deal.

Jewel Changi Airport Devt.

According to ArchDaily, the Rain Vortex, the impressive water wonder, is over 130 feet high, and fed by recycled rainwater that falls from the oculus of the dome.

The waterfall’s edge is subject to certain basic forces, the like of which are factored in by hydraulic engineers when constructing weirs, horizontal barriers that span rivers and alter water flow characteristics. “The hydraulics are very simple,” Arturo Leon, a hydraulic engineer at the University of Houston told Wired in regards to the indoor waterfall, “but the architecture is very, very impressive.”

The water mechanics behind the Rain Vortex are just as impressive as the fountain itself promises to be: 10,000 gallons of water a minute might fall during heavy storms, which should be enough to keep the Rain Vortex running. This is where recycled water comes into play.

Alternating Cascades

The Jewel is shaped somewhat like a bagel, and the Rain Vortex will flow through the hole in the center. To address concerns about water crashing through the air and making a humid environment, engineers are designing the waterfall with alternating cascades in mind. By switching between trickles and cascades, the Rain Vortex’s presence will barely disrupt the air and atmosphere of the airport extension.

The structure that will house the future indoor waterfall is the Jewel. Designed by Safdie Architects, the “jewel” of Jewel Changi Airport is a biodome made of glass, which is supported by tree-like structural columns that ring the roof garden, also known as Canopy Park. These supports—and the upper level’s gathering space—were designed in conjunction with PWP Landscape Architecture.

“Our goal was to bring together the duality of a vibrant marketplace and a great urban park side-by-side in a singular and immersive experience,” Moshe Safdie, founder of Safdie Architects, said in an interview. The traditional mall is combined with education, nature, culture and recreation, culminating in what Safdie calls an “uplifting experience.” The heart of the design is based around the idea of providing a space where “the people of Singapore can interact with the people of the world.”

Construction is slated to be completed early 2019.


Tagged categories: Color + Design; Commercial / Architectural

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