Carrasco International Airport, New Terminal
Rafael Viñoly Architects
Puerta del Sur S.A.
Puerta del Sur, the airport owner and operator, commissioned Rafael Viñoly Architects to design a prominent and spacious passenger terminal with special emphasis on duty-free retail space, capacity to handle one million-plus domestic and international travelers, accommodate modern aircraft, and allow for future expansion. The firm’s design – with its gentle curve and low profile monolithic roof inspired by the rolling dunes along Uruguay’s coastline – elevates 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, duty-free retail, and landscaping, all housed beneath a gently curved roof 1200 feet 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 departures level. This terrace can be accessed without passing through security, allowing non-traveling friends and family elevated views of the runway and the departures hall and features a restaurant and space for commercial and cultural uses.
Carrasco International Airport, officially known as "Aeropuerto Internacional de Carrasco General Cesareo L. Berisso," is located 11 miles east of downtown Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay. With over one million passengers per year, it is the only airport in the country that provides year-round international connections, making it a significant and prominent airport for many visitors to Uruguay. To meet the growing needs of country’s commercial and tourism sectors, investment was made to expand and modernize the existing 1947 facility with a spacious new passenger terminal to increase capacity and spur additional growth in the region. Both terminals have independent access to the highway that connects with Montevideo and the eastern beaches, including the famous city and summer resort of Punta del Este.
While the architectural solution for the Carrasco International Airport is modern in its conception of space, function, and structure, the monolithic roof is regionally inspired and draws its strength from its relationship to the surrounding topography, helping it to integrate it to its site, while maintaining a low profile on the surrounding built environment. The building has surpassed all expectations through its design: public zones in the form of great, welcoming spaces for both the people who are not traveling as well as those who are; efficient arrivals and departures circulation; and highly sustainable design features, including strategic use of day lighting to lower energy consumption. The building has become a cherished symbol of Uruguay’s transformation from an important regional country to an international destination for commerce and travel.