New Biophilic Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 expansion opens

The expansion of Terminal 2 at Singapore’s Changi Airport, comprising 120,000m² across three levels has opened. BOIFFILS Architectures, in collaboration with Patrick Blanc and landscape architects, Genesis Nine One Pte Ltd completely redesigned an existing terminal building with a focus on traveler experiences and connections to the earth’s elements, particularly in the Departure and Arrival halls, has provided Singapore with a new 21st-century gateway to the ‘Garden City of Singapore.

The project spans three levels, including Arrival and Departure halls, and a mezzanine on Level 3 where food and beverage options are available. The existing terminal architecture was rooted in the traditional airport focus on business efficiency, rather than comfort and pleasurable user experiences. BOIFFILS Architectures’ idea was to romanticize the airport experience, infusing pleasurable experiences into increasingly stressful travel scenarios through a series of visual, audio, and interactive stimuli intended to soothe the mind, body, and soul.

 A fluid gateway to the Garden City
Airport experiences can be daunting as the first step in travel. BOIFFILS Architectures endeavored to create a serene multi-sensory environment that allows passengers to enjoy the calming effects of nature. The project was designed as a journey across an indoor landscape encompassing minerals, water features, and lush vegetation in various forms and densities.

 “We wanted the architecture to be a source of emotions and a stimulant of senses through its connections with nature,” says Basile. “As lovers of nature and gardens, we drew those inspirations from vegetation, topography, geology, minerals, ponds, streams, currents, water reflections, and much more to create spaces and forms that blur the boundaries between architecture and landscape.”

 To humanize the airport experience and keep people connected, BOIFFILS Architectures treated the spaces with design philosophies reminiscent of luxurious hotel complexes, with a welcoming and personalized check-in experience. Rich earth tones, noble materials, and high-tech elements were integrated into an environment traditionally defined by cold and sterile colors. Upon arrival at the departure level, bright, colorful carpeting evokes aerial views of land and sea, with colorful and textured lines representing the sedimentary layers of the earth. Vegetated columns extend from the ground floor, forming multiple atriums inspired by nature and its elements.

 Upon arrival in Terminal 2, travelers descend a set of escalators to a highly automated and streamlined immigration zone, where BOIFFILS Architectures strived to conceal the technical and regulatory aspects. Travelers are surrounded by an environment of vegetated walls and colorful carpeting, with continuous, organic lines facilitating transitions and offering clear forward views of adjoining steps in the journey as part of a shared architectural language. Unobstructed views from the immigration zone through to the baggage carousels and ‘meet and greet’ area induce a calmer mindset, allowing travelers to get their bearings prior to moving forward.

 Between earth and sky

Looking up, BOIFFILS Architectures designed a complex ceiling structure in the Departure Hall to conceal a world of its own, where a network of essential catwalks provides access to a multitude of mechanical systems. Developed through parametric design, they created an intricately baffled ceiling composed of aluminum blades, with each fin forming a double-curved configuration that arches and twists to fulfill its function.

 A dialogue between technology and nature

Continuing with the aim of offering travelers new experiences, BOIFFILS Architectures created two spaces where nature and technology are intimately intertwined, inviting multimedia studio Moment Factory to collaborate on the creations.

Travelers will be able to experience Singapore’s flora through two unique immersive installations. Leveraging technological advances that would not have existed a decade ago, BOIFFILS Architectures created a visual focus at the central axis of the Departure Hall in the form of a 14-meter-high digital waterfall display known as “The Wonderfall”. Soothing cascades flow between vertical gardens rising on both sides of the curved LED screen, composed of three large flat segments to provide an optimal view. Several times an hour, the tumultuous waters change direction on megaliths, creating a fascinating dance between the elements. Set to music composed by Jean-Michel Blais, the choreography channels the raw energy of a torrent into moments of grandeur until gravity returns the water to its natural state.

Collaboration with Moment Factory extended to a renovation of the south garden of the transit area, providing a restful respite for layover passengers disoriented by intercontinental travel. To provide a sense of connection with the outdoors, where they are not permitted to go, the collaborators created an LED ceiling that replicates external weather conditions in real time, from overcast skies to sunrises and sunsets. Additionally, every 30 minutes, a show features the skylight screen producing rain, accumulating water, spurring vegetation growth, and more. On the floor, an acrylic edged platform gives the impression of walking on water, embraced by abstract mirrored steel walls and flowing water in an area collectively known as ‘Dreamscape’.

Throughout the garden, the tropical sounds of Singapore can be heard through bird songs, insect noises, and other local creatures, generated in real-time from a catalog of nearly 100 recordings and broadcast through an immersive 3D sound system. BOIFFILS Architectures enlisted the contribution of Patrick Blanc, an artist botanist, and inventor of the green wall, for the botanical sequences and plant selection.

Sustainability and humanity at its core

The project has been proudly rated Platinium for The Green Mark Certification Scheme. The Green Mark certification is a green building rating system in Singapore designed to evaluate a building’s environmental impact and performance. It provides a comprehensive framework for assessing the overall environmental performance of new and existing buildings to promote sustainable design and best practices in construction and operations.

Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 expansion

Location: Singapore
Customer: (Singapore) Changi Airport Group (CAG)

Project team 
Architectural firm: BOIFFILS Architectures
Managing partner(s): Basile Boiffils, Jacqueline Boiffils, Henri Boiffils
Creative director & principal architect: Basile Boiffils
Architects/designers: Arda Beyleryan, Monir Karimi, Sung Ju Kwak, Nicolas Delesalle, Victoire Bonniol, Laura Follin

Contractors & builders: TakenakaTakenaka
Structural engineers: RSP Architects Planners & Engineers (Pte) Ltd, Singapore
Engineers: J Roger Preston (S) Pte Ltd, Singapore
Collaborating architects (external): RSP Architects Planners & Engineers (Pte) Ltd, Singapore
Lighting consultants: Philippe ALMON PhA Concepteur Lumières, Paris
Botanical design: Patrick Blanc, Paris
Landscape architects: Genesis Nine One Pte Ltd, Singapore
Consultancy and cost management: Rider Levett Bucknall, Singapore
Fire safety and risk engineering: IGNESIS Consultants Pte Ltd, Singapore
IT Consultant: Inline Technologies Pte Ltd
Multimedia: Moment Factory, Montreal
Architectural software used: Autocad, Rhinoceros, Grasshopper, Cinema 4D

Photo credits: Changi Airport Group – Fabian Ong

About Damian Holmes 3344 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at