Florence Airport (FLR), formally known as Amerigo Vespucci Airport, is undergoing a terminal modernization project. Rafael Viñoly Architects, the firm responsible for the transformation, recently revealed more details about the renovation. The small tourist-heavy airport will construct a 38-row, 19-acre vineyard on the roof of the new terminal building. The airport has not witnessed a major renovation since 1999. In addition to the vineyard, insulated skylights within each row will provide the terminal building's interior with abundant natural light.
Architects and planners hope to use the vineyard as a tourist attraction, a reflection of the local economy, and a feature that will help the airport blend into the surrounding landscape. The grapes harvested from the vineyard will be aged underneath the terminal building for wine consumption. When viewed from Brunelleschi's Duomo, the airport terminal building will be completely hidden.
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In addition, the airport aims to boost overall capacity to rival Pisa Airport (PSA) as the busiest in the Tuscany region. In addition to the new terminal, the airport is adding a light rail connection to the city proper and expanding the runway.
Rafael Viñoly said the following about the project before his 2023 death:
"Florence is a place where things become permanent landmarks because they have a fundamental sense of internal logic and quality. Because the airport, which is the door to the city and its culture, is so extremely close to the city center, this must be an urbanistic project, not an isolated design exercise that is divorced from everything but the technical demands of aviation and the competition for passengers."
The new design emphasizes urban design principles and integration into the natural landscape as core tenets. The firm also explains the importance of place-making at the new terminal, saying the following:
"Arrivals and Departures will be facing each other across a large public space – a "Piazza" at the center of the new terminal. The scheme will organize all the circulation into and out of the terminal and the access to light rail, parking, and retail."
The new terminal is expected to handle close to 6 million passengers annually. The construction will happen over two phases, with phase one scheduled for completion in 2026 and phase 2 in 2035.
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