The Rain Vortex takes its inspiration from rainfall. The Rain Vortex takes its inspiration from rainfall. The Rain Vortex takes its inspiration from rainfall. (Photo: Changi Airport and Safdie Architects)

This airport will feature the world's largest indoor waterfall and light shows

The 'Rain Vortex,' designed by architect Moshe Safdie, is the showcase of a new complex.

Traveling and beauty don't normally go hand in hand. Harried and hungry, we're usually dashing through an airport, suitcase in one hand and a $12 tuna sandwich in the other. The airport, most of us would agree, is not a place to stop and smell the roses.

But that seems to be changing. More and more, airports are trying to ease the anxiety of travel and even distract from it altogether. Nowhere is this more evident than at Singapore's Changi Airport, heralded many times over as the best airport in the world. Passengers on a layover can swim in the rooftop pool and jacuzzi, meander through the indoor butterfly garden or watch a free movie at the 24-hour on-site cinema. With airports like this, who even needs a destination?

Later this year, the airport will be adding a new billion-dollar complex simply known as the Jewel. It will have 10 stories – five above ground and five below. The centerpiece of the domed glass building will be the "Rain Vortex," the world's largest indoor waterfall at 131 feet tall. At night, choreographed light shows will illuminate the water.

Adding to its beauty, it will be nestled amongst a five-story indoor forest and a 130-room hotel. A canopy bridge, suspended 75 feet above the ground, will serve as a walkway between the Jewel's many attractions – including winding slides, hedge mazes and 280 shops. All of which will be enjoyed by the 62 million travelers who pass through the bustling Asian hub each year.

The Jewel was designed by Moshe Safdie, a world-renowned architect, born in Israel and raised in Canada. His work includes the United Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., and the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Safdie has created nearly 100 projects worldwide and is well-known for combining nature and architecture. His vision for the Jewel was to create “a place where a vibrant marketplace and an open garden can co-exist side by side,” explained the airport's Andrew Kurniawan Ng. “Our offering in Jewel you can’t really find anywhere in the world.”

This is not Safdie's first work in the country. He designed Singapore’s towering Marina Bay Sands, an architectural wonder with an instantly recognizable rooftop infinity pool 55 stories above the ground. Safdie says the building's design was inspired by a deck of cards.

The iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel complex in Singapore is held up high by three 55-story buildings. The iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel complex in Singapore is held up high by three 55-story buildings. (Photo: Everything / Shutterstock)

The 80-year-old Haifa native received the American Institute of Architects 2015 Gold Medal, the highest award in architecture. He joins Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn and Santiago Calatrava as an honoree.

"Design is about making things work and fit and respond to their purpose," Safdie said in a short film about his legacy. "And that is, for me, the kind of checklist of: Is my architecture timeless? Is it responsive in such a way that it's likely to be meaningful on a long-term basis?" Watch the entire video below:

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This airport will feature the world's largest indoor waterfall and light shows
The 'Rain Vortex,' designed by architect Moshe Safdie, is the showcase of a new complex.