Carrasco International Airport
Rafael Viñoly

December 14, 2009 /

Montevideo, Uruguay

Photo courtesy Rafael Viñoly Architects

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.

Photo: Daniela Macadden

[The building has]…dramatic and welcoming spaces for those who aren't traveling as well as those who are.

/Rafael Viñoly

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.

Photo: Daniela Macadden

Photo: Daniela Macadden

Photo: Daniela Macadden

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.

Photo: Daniela Macadden

Photo: Daniela Macadden

Photo: Daniela Macadden

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.

Photo: Daniela Macadden

Photo: Daniela Macadden

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.

Photo courtesy Rafael Viñoly Architects

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."
Rafael Viñoly

Drawing courtesy Rafael Viñoly ArchitectsSite Plan

Drawing courtesy Rafael Viñoly ArchitectsPlan
Drawing courtesy Rafael Viñoly ArchitectsLongitudinal Section
Drawing courtesy Rafael Viñoly ArchitectsCross Section

Facts about Carrasco International Airport

Total area:

344,000 gross ft2

Rafael Viñoly Architects PC

Structural Engineers:

Thornton Tomasetti Group

Mechanical Engineer:

Ing. Luis Lagomarsino & Associates

Electrical Engineer:

Ing. Ricardo Hofstadter

Plumbing Engineer: 

Estudio Jack Yaffe Berro

Code Consultant:

Hughes Associates, Inc.                                           


Puerta del Sur S.A.

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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