The New York based practice Rafael Viñoly Architects was commissioned to expand and modernize the existing facilities of the Carrasco International Airport in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, with a spacious new passenger terminal to expand capacity and spur commercial growth and tourism in the region.
“With one million passengers per year, it is the only airport in the country that provides year-round international connections, and as a result carries great symbolic value as the “front door” for many visitors to the country.”
“The firm’s design places prominence on the public zones—including the secure runway-side concourse as well as the fully accessible roadside departure hall and terrace—by providing amenities such as open space, natural light, restaurants, retail, and landscaping, all housed beneath a gently curved roof, 1,000 feet (300 meters) in length. Arrivals and departures are separated by floor, with arrivals on the ground level, departures on the first floor, and vehicular access roads that service each level independently. A public, landscaped terrace occupies the second floor above the departure level, providing views of the runway and the main public concourse. It also features a restaurant and additional space for other commercial or cultural uses.”
“After completing check-in and security procedures, departing travelers have access to duty-free shopping and restaurants in the waiting areas. Arriving travelers pass through a mezzanine level, fully glazed to allow terminal and runway views that help orient newcomers to the terminal space, before descending to the baggage claim, customs, immigration, and further duty-free shopping areas. An open atrium adjacent to the street entrance visually and spatially links the beginning and ending stages of a traveler’s journey, and opens the ground floor to the monumental space of the main hall.”
“In Uruguay, friends and family still come to greet you at the airport or see you off,” says Rafael Vinoly, “so this terminal provides great spaces for the people who aren’t traveling as well as those who are. The atrium, the main hall, the terrace, and the passenger concourse make this a dramatic and welcoming place for everyone.”