Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport CEO Akbar Al Baker are quoted as saying Moshe Safdie, the famous architect responsible for the grandeur of Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport copied the design of Hamad International Airport.
The design of HIA, according to its chief executive officer, was already in the drawing board six years ago prior to the construction of Jewel.
The allegation was made during a press conference held in Doha where Al Baker told the media the design of HIA was “copied by individuals from that country.”
While there was no mention of Jewel several media outlets quoted the CEO as saying the difference between the two is that, one is a shopping mall, and one is an international airport.
During the press conference, the expansion plans of Hamad International Airport was revealed.
It included an indoor tropical garden as well as a water feature. In an official press release, the expansion plan also included a landscaped retail and F&B space to enhance the multi-dimensional offerings of the airport.
In addition, it will feature an Al Mourjan lounge that has spas, gymnasiums, restaurants and business centres.
Jewel Changi Airport
Unveiled in April 2019 and designed by the Airport Group (CAG) led by architect Moshe Safdie, Jewel Changi was created as a multi-dimensional tourist destination featuring a Forest Valley and a Rain Vortex. CAG said in an earlier statement that the concept for Jewel’s design represented the juxtaposition of a park and a marketplace.
In a Straits Times article, CAG chief executive Lee Seow Hiang said the vision for Jewel was to create a ‘game-changing airport experience.’
Moshe Safdie, the architect also refuted the allegations. The Israeli explained that the design was selected in July 2012 through a “competitive process.”
Safdie Architects was then awarded the project in May 2013 due to its pursuit in including gardens as a focal point in its “compelling” design.
“We are delighted that Jewel’s uniqueness and originality have been well-recognised by the international community and resulted in many wanting to emulate it,” Safdie said to The Straits Times.
To clear the matter further, Lee stressed that lead architect Safdie has never worked in Qatar, and has not travelled to that region implying that it is impossible for Moshe to copy something from a place that he has never been to.
Mr Lee said, “We value the originality and creativity of ideas as we innovate to elevate the Changi experience for all our visitors.
“We respect intellectual property rights and expect the same of all our partners.”
So, if Safdie has never done any projects in Qatar, who is copying who?