Carrasco International Airport
The new terminal at Carrasco International Airport, which serves Uruguay’s capital city of Montevideo, was created to expand capacity and spur commercial growth and tourism in the surrounding region.
The 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 1,200 feet in length.
|[The building has]…dramatic and welcoming spaces for those who aren’t traveling as well as those who are.|
The gentle curve and low profile of this monolithic roof help integrate the building into its site. The exterior’s flowing lines and undulating geometry resemble the natural landscape of Uruguay, making it not only an iconic architectural structure, but a symbolic one as well.
Inside the building 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.
Arriving travelers 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.
In keeping with a long tradition of grand transportation halls, the departures level is one large space. With glazing on all four sides and thin structural supports, the roof appears to float above the building.
The departures level features the public concourse and the secure passenger concourse; each is separated by the security checkpoint and immigration control at the center of the plan. Four fixed, elevated pedestrian bridges with articulating corridors, accommodating a total of eight passenger gates, connect the passenger concourse to narrow- and wide-body aircraft and provide access to the apron for smaller planes.
While the architectural solution for the Carrasco International Airport is modern in its conception of space, function, and structure, the roof is regionally inspired and draws its strength from its relationship to the surrounding topography.
The building, the firm’s largest project in Viñoly’s home country, embodies Uruguay’s transformation from an important regional country to an international destination for commerce and travel.
“In Uruguay, friends and family still come to greet you at the airport, or see you off, 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.”