Carrasco International Airport

With its curvaceous roof design, the new airport building at Montevideo in Uruguay celebrates the aesthetics of aviation. Light provides the link between indoor and outdoor areas.

Carrasco is a township just a few miles outside of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. The country's largest airport has been situated here since 1947. With a new terminal, the operators aim to promote tourism and expand the airport's position as a hub of South American air traffic. The New-York-based architect Rafael Viñoly realised his first airport building here in his native country. The wing-like, arched roof and the filigree, tubular-steel support structures celebrate the aesthetics of aviation, thereby establishing a link with historical predecessors such as the TWA Flight Center by Saarinen in New York. The Carrasco terminal went operational in December 2009 and has a capacity of around 3 million passengers per year.

The wing-like roof construction measures 365 metres and spans over the all-round glazed departure hall. To create a flowing transition to the outside, the illumination of the roof inside and out has been carefully fine-tuned. For the cantilevered roof, Powercast projectors with 150W metal halide lamps are mounted on the grounds along the approach road. Their Spherolit reflectors with the "oval flood" characteristic combine to achieve a soft, uniform illumination.

The actual departure lounge is a monumental, bright room. The ceiling's indirect illumination lends lightness to the roof surface giving it a floating feeling, an effect achieved by hundreds of Parscoop ceiling washlights mounted on the tubular-steel support structures. Fitted with highly efficient metal halide lamps, these luminaires ensure that this lighting solution provides efficient visual comfort and economical connection figures of just 14W/m².

But it is not only in the central hall that ERCO lighting tools are used: ERCO's track-mounted Optec spotlights are also installed in the departure gates, again fitted with efficient metal halide lamps.

Montevideo, Uruguay. For further information, please see the website:

Architect: Rafael Viñoly, New York.

Asociated architects: Carla Bechelli Arquitectos, Buenos Aires

Lighting design: Ricardo Hofstadter, Montevideo

Construction management: Puerta del Sur S.A. / Corporación América, Arq. Julian M. Evans

Facts and figures (Source: airport operator):
Construction costs: $165m
Area of new terminal: 45,000m²
8 departure gates
4 telescopic air bridges
Start of construction: 2007
Opened: December 2009

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