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Due to open any day now, Singapore Changi’s new Terminal 4 promises to be positively surprising with a unique boutique design and host of facilities for passengers to explore.

Singapore Changi Airport has set the bar pretty high when it comes to customer service levels and the opening of innovative new facilities, so when it announces that its new Terminal 4 will be impressive, the aviation industry listens.

Indeed, operator Changi Airport Group (CAG), has gone on record as stating that Terminal 4 presents a “new travel experience with its boutique design and innovative use of technology”.

It will also be the first terminal at Changi Airport to offer end-to-end Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) for departing passengers.

With the extensive use of technology, including facial recognition software, CAG states that FAST will redefine the travel experience for passengers as well as enhance operational efficiency and raise productivity.

Capable of handling up to 16 million passengers per annum, Changi’s new S$1.3 billion terminal has a total floor area of 225,000 square metres, including the two-storey terminal, car parks and taxi deck.

Boutique design

According to CAG, T4’s design theme is fun, vibrant and positively surprising. There is a sense of space – a hallmark of Changi Airport – brought about by a high ceiling and height limits for equipment and machines.

It reveals that the terminal’s showpiece is a Central Galleria (300m long x 18m wide x 23m high), which separates the public zone from the transit area.

This visual-transparent concept provides a clear view from the check-in hall through the transit area and, at some locations, even right up to the boarding gates.

Due to its compact size, T4 will have centralised areas for departure and arrival immigration as well as pre-board security screening.

This, says CAG, provides for more optimised deployment of manpower and equipment. In the Departure Hall, the check-in islands are angled towards the common immigration control area, to create natural and intuitive wayfinding for passengers.

The terminal also promises to be light, airy and ‘green’ courtesy of skylights and glass walls allowing natural light, and plenty of plants and trees. Indeed, landscaping covers 2,000 square metres and T4 is home to 186 large trees.

Along the boarding corridor, 160 ficus trees form a green boulevard that separates the boarding area from the common area at the departure gates. 

Redefining travel

Singapore based architectural consultancy firm, SAA Architects, acted as the lead consultant on the project, spearheading the Architectural Design Consortium (ADC), as well as being executive architect of T4.

In collaboration with Benoy Limited (Benoy)  – the concept and interior designers on the project – SAA embarked on a mission to create a unique airport terminal experience that “pushes the boundaries and inspires the traveller like never before”.

Yeo Siew Haip, managing director of SAA Architects, described the firm’s pivotal role as like “a music conductor in orchestrating all the processes to bring the T4 design to reality”.

This included leading the ADC in concept refinement, stakeholder engagement, fast-track scheduling and value engineering.

Yeo is also quick to point out that the ADC also surpassed all expectations in terms of delivering a fast track project to a high level of quality.

“We are committed to raising travellers’ experiences to new heights, contributing to Singapore’s goal of being a leading aviation hub,” says Yeo.

He notes that SAA faced stiff competition from some of the world’s top archtiects for its role as lead consultant on the project’s design team, which he reveals involved collaborating and working closely with more than ten consultants and specialists.

SAA Architects has over 50 years of experience in delivering complex infrastructure projects across the region. They include designing over half of Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations and the country’s Woodlands Healthcare Campus and Northpoint City and jem shopping malls.


Retail offerings

Terminal 4 will also be a “shopping and dining haven”, insists CAG, boasting more than 80 retail and F&B outlets featuring popular brands and unique experiential zones.

This includes an integrated duty-free zone covering both liquor & tobacco and cosmetics & perfumes products. Shoppers will be able to pay for their purchases at common cashier counters.

New at Changi Airport, the Heritage Zone – designed with the evolving architecture of shophouse facades – provides passengers with a glimpse of Singapore’s unique cultural heritage, while housing a range of traditional retail and dining offerings.

A theatre of experience

With a rich tapestry of culture and technology, T4 is set to invoke an emotional connection with passengers, engaging them through a theatre of different experiences, heritage-themed facades, immersive LED digital displays and more.

The art collection at T4 features an eclectic mix of contemporary works by local and international artists, with a diverse blend of mediums, sizes and imagery.

Poh Li San, CAG’s vice president, T4 programme management office, enthuses: “Terminal 4 was conceived with the vision to rethink travel, push boundaries and break new ground.

“Through innovative concepts of operation and terminal design, we sought to address our capacity needs as well as improve efficiency and manpower productivity.

“For the passenger, we wanted to delight them with ‘wow’ features and showcase our local culture and architectural history at the Heritage Zone. We look forward to welcoming our first passengers.”



Benoy, the concept design architect and interior designer of the highly anticipated new terminal, is confident that it will make a big impression on passengers.

Benoy’s CEO, Tom Cartledge, says: “We pride ourselves on creating spaces where people want to live, work and play and designing an airport terminal is no different.

“We have applied intelligent planning and creative problem solving to transform what is traditionally a functional and transitory experience, into one that responds to every stage of the passenger journey whilst generating non-aviation venue for CAG.”

The journey starts at check-in with state-of-the-art facilities to provide improved levels of efficiency. Once clear of immigration and security, passengers are guided along the spacious, tax-free retail walkway with double height shop fronts, all the time surrounded by meticulously matched interiors and ambient lighting.

“We were keen to address the physical and psychological barrier created between departing passengers and their loved ones,” notes Cartledge.

“Through creative problem solving we designed the Central Galleria – a glazed, open space separating the airside and landside areas. This celebration of physical and visual transparency is the terminal’s focal point. It will enable departing passengers to stay in visual contact with their friends and family whilst also moving them through to the Transit Lounge.”

Natural light and soft landscaping are a recurring theme within T4. An abundance of skylights, interior gardens, trees and green walls help to capture Singapore’s national identity as a ‘City within a Garden’.

Cartledge adds: “Wherever we are globally, we embrace the natural and built environment in which we’re working. When you consider the space in its entirety, it’s easier to create a user experience that is continuous rather than interrupted.”


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