Rafael Viñoly Architects has completed its first ever airport terminal which is to open next month in Viñoly’s home country. Carrasco International Airport in Montevideo, Uruguay is the largest of the architect's projects in Uruguay and will expand the airport in a bid to spur commercial growth and tourism.
Beneath the spectacular 1,200 ft long roof, which offers a softness to the otherwise monolithic structure, the design gives particular prominence and care to public zones and amenities offering abundant space and natural light. Light enters via a visor-like glazed airside facade, which peers out from under the gently down-turned roof. The flowing lines and undulation are reminiscent of Uruguayan landscape providing a fitting entry point to the country.
Details within the architecture provide further notions of space. Arriving travellers, for example, pass through a fully glazed mezzanine level that helps orient them to the terminal space before they descend to immigration, the baggage claim, and customs. A public, landscaped terrace and a restaurant occupy the second floor, providing sweeping views of the runway and the main concourse.
Inside the building, arrivals and departures are separated vertically: arrivals on the ground floor, and departures on the first floor, with vehicular access roads for passenger drop-off and pick-up servicing each level independently. An open atrium adjacent to the street entrance opens the ground floor to the monumental space of the main hall, visually and spatially linking the beginning and ending stages of a traveller’s journey. The roof provides a canopy over these access roads on the land-side of the building.