31 March 2020 - 7 Nisan 5780 - ז' ניסן ה' אלפים תש"פ

Improvement works to enhance the international airport in Qatar ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup have generated a media storm, bringing to light suspicions that renowned Israeli/Canadian architect Moshe Safdie and Singapore Changi Airport itself have stolen designs for Project Jewel, the bio dome at the airport.

Upcoming work at the Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, closely resembles existing structures seen at Singapore’s recently opened airport shopping complex.
At a recent press briefing, Akbar Al Baker, the head of Qatar Airways, alleged that “somebody” had copied Qatar’s scheme for enhancements at the Hamad International Airport (DOH) located south of Doha.

He didn’t name Singapore or Safdie in his announcement, but the criticism was clear.

Work done ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will include the build-out of a large waterfall and an interior gardennot unlike those found at the popular new shopping palace in Changi Airport.

Completed earlier this year, the 1.25 billion SGD entertainment and retail complex boasts the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, spanning seven stories across the 1.4-million-squarefeet structure.

The 131-foot-tall Rain Vortex is the Changi Jewel’s most prominent feature and immediately presents itself to visitors Singapore’s English-language daily newspaper, The Straits Times, reported that Safdie’s concept was initially created exclusively for Changi Airport Group (the airport’s operator and manager) in 2013, and therefore couldn’t be a copy of the 2019 Doha project.

Safdie issued the following statement to the paper:

“We have been pursuing the concept of gardens as a focal point for the public realm for many decades. We have also explored the concept of harvesting the rain into internal rainfalls at Ben Gurion Airport (Israel) and Marina Bay Sands. The success of these explorations have further inspired and led us to create a new icon in the Jewel that we see today—a new kind of urban place that celebrates the elements of nature and urban life. We are delighted that Jewel’s uniqueness and originality has been well-recognised by the international community and resulted in many wanting to emulate it.”

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