This project won the 2013 Architizer A+ Jury Award and Popular Choice Award in the airports category. See the full list of winners here.
As the only airport in Uruguay with year-round international flights, Carrasco International Airport serves as the metaphorical front door to the country. When the owner, Puerta del Sur, decided to expand and modernize the facilities, the Uruguayan-born Rafael Viñoly was the natural choice.
Open since 2009, the new terminal handles just 1 million passengers a year. But what it lacks in traffic it makes up for in symbolism. The building—which took both the Jury Prize and the Popular Choice Prize in the airports category of the A+ Awards—reinterprets the dunes of Uruguay's coastline as a pristine modern monolith. With a soaring 1,200-foot-wide canopy that shelters the 460,000-square-foot concourse under its gleaming white wing, Viñoly's terminal is at once infrastructure and a civic monument.
Inside, the architects emphasized the public zones, creating long views through the terminal and adding drama with a rakishly tilted glass facade. A landscaped public terrace on the second floor gives travelers a view of the runway and the public concourse, which is lined with restaurants and retail.
Like the roof above it, that giant ceiling is one continuous span, with not a fixture in sight. To avoid breaking it up with lights, the architects lit the ceiling from below. So much of what's lovely about this airport is the clarity Viñoly finds through unadornment. In air travel, visual assault tends to rule, but Carrasco exults in the uninterrupted surface.
Photos: Daniela Mac Adden