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April 23, 2008

Water Fountain, Flying Propeller, UFO Spaceship And Other Oddities At Singapore's Changi Airport Terminal 3

Above: Water Fountain

Water Fountain, Flying Propeller, UFO SpaceShip And Other Oddities At Changi Airport Terminal 3

Since official opening on 9 January 2008, Singapore’s US$1.75 billion dollar Changi Airport Terminal 3 has been inundated with visitors and sightseers to its 380,000 square-metre floor area. Like the masses, I was not immune to the buzz surrounding one of the nation’s most popular shopping, dining and jalan-jalan place.

The spanking new 7-storey building that includes 3 basement levels is better reached by MRT than driving through its high maintenance labyrinthine carpark. Within its cavernous halls are the areas we come to expect of an airport - arrival hall, departure hall, restaurant areas, observation deck of the tarmac and the other usual suspects. However, there are several oddities of note at Changi Airport Terminal 3 that I shall discuss in Seen This Scene That. All these areas are accessible to the public without purchasing any plane ticket.

The first oddity, which is also my favourite, is a water fountain located at Basement 2 that comes in a circular shape with colour-lit water jets rising intermittently from the perimeter that lands near the middle of the pond. Dividing this pond into two equal halves is a raised platform with spotlights beamed from the ceiling. It gives an illusion of an airport’s runway that looks like it’s ready to receive a night landing.

Above: "UFO Spaceship"

The next oddity is the design of the restaurants that sit on top of the departure hall. With lights enveloping the structural support, it appears like an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) space ship that is ready for take-off at the aptly named departure hall.

Above: Propeller "Eye" and Ceiling "Blades"

The third oddity that I find amusing is a giant red-winged cargo ship propeller that rises through the basement up above the departure hall level. With slow gentle motion, the propeller rotates, flexes and extends around its base as if sending wind-chill around the cavernous hall. In effect, this robotic sculpture named “Daisy” by Christian Moeller was designed to generate movement in response to faces that it tracks as it lights up a smile on your face with its comic routine.

The fourth oddity is something that most people cannot fail to notice. The ceiling roofs with multi-level butterfly-shaped reflector panels look uncomfortably placed. Like razor blades hanging by a thread, I took a while to get use to it. Although I understand that these state-of-the-art designs help to control the amount of natural lighting, the ecological savings seems to have hurt its aesthetic integrity.

Lastly I have noticed that there are lifts near the glass fa├žade of Terminal 3 facing the main road that possess a unique feature. These lifts are literally invisible as they are made of a glass-like see-through material. When the lift descends, the sensation is akin to slow-motion bungee jumping with the same heart-in-your-throat feeling. This is something not conducive to convert land-bound visitors into airborne passengers.

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By STST (SeenThisSceneThat)

seen this scene that

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Stardust said...


So am I right to say that I'm not the only one finding T3 odd? I had the same discomfort about the 4th oddity you've mentioned. The place looks stiffly new-age. It was an awful experience with the customs when I had to leave by T3 recently.

One oddity I'd like to add, where are those proud lovely Orchids that T1 & T2 never fail to display? T3 feels like a cold, lifeless ground behind bars. =(

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