New Florence airport terminal to have a rooftop vineyard

“An ode to the Tuscan winemaking tradition”: Rafael Viñoly Architects plans the expansion of the Florence airport, probably the first airport in the world that will produce its own wine.

The United States firm Rafael Viñoly Architects has unveiled its design for the new international terminal at Florence’s Amerigo Vespucci Airport. The most recognizable element of the approved design will be the crowning 7.7 hectares of vineyard like roofing. The project is intended to cater for the airport's steadily increasing passenger traffic, which is expected to exceed 5.9 million passengers a year when construction is completed. The project will be implemented in two phases, with the first phase scheduled to open in 2026 and the second phase in 2035.

The sloping green roof entirely dedicated to vineyards will be by design intentions an “ode to the Tuscan winemaking tradition,” designed to be functional and productive. In fact, according to the designers, “the vineyards will be cultivated by a leading winemaker in the region and the wine will be produced and aged in specialized cellars under the roof of the terminal.”

Rafael Viñoly Architects, Aeroporto Amerigo Vespucci, Firenze, Italia. Courtesy Rafael Viñoly Architects

Structurally, complex engineering and careful consideration of factors such as weight distribution, drainage, and wind load will be essential to support the vineyard. In addition, the microclimate of a rooftop is very different from that of a traditional vineyard, with problems of heat, wind, and proximity to aircraft.

The heart of the new terminal will be a spacious plaza, reminiscent of a traditional Tuscan town square. This central hub will serve to converge arrivals and departures, streamlining the flow of passengers and promoting a sense of community. The square will also be open to the public, creating a vibrant space for travelers and locals alike.

A light rail system will also connect the airport directly to the city center, while the terminal itself will feature dedicated transportation, parking, and retail spaces accessible to both passengers and locals.

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