A Vineyard in the Sky: Where Grapes Reach for the Heavens

ByAndrea Thompson

March 14, 2024
©Rafael Viñoly Architects

Can you imagine coming into land, peering out of the airplane window and instead of the usual concrete tarmac, your eyes widen as you witness a breath-taking sight—a lush vineyard stretching toward the sky on top of the new international terminal at Amerigo Vespucci Airport.

Welcome to a harmonious blend of innovation and viticulture, where the spirit of Tuscany’s winemaking tradition meets architectural brilliance.

Tuscany—the very name evokes  sun-kissed vineyards, ancient olive groves, and Renaissance art, but  imagine savouring the wine like Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Chianti, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, and the legendary Super Tuscans, all born from this fertile region and will make your taste buds dance!

This planned 19-acre vineyard is a living testament to Tuscany’s deep-rooted connection to winemaking. The gentle slope of the vines mirror the rolling hills of the surrounding countryside. The 38 rows will be meticulously cultivated and harvested by leading vintners from the region and  transformed into exquisite wines, right on-site, in specialized cellars beneath the terminal’s roof.

Having consulted agricultural engineers and enologists the vineyard will be kept safe from the jet fumes having looked into the prevailing winds and the geometry of the building and where the harvested fruit will actually be planted.

Fully sustainable using solar and translucent photovoltaic panels, a HVAC system, harvesting rainwater and LED lighting to name just a few of the processes that are being utilized for this project.

The visionary behind this ambitious project is Rafael Vinoly Architects.   In their own words “this enormous surface, which hides the airport terminal when viewed from the Duomo and other prominent vantage points in the city, will not only serve as a new landmark for the city’s sustainable future, but also as a symbol of the traditions, history and innovations spirit that continue to drive the Italian economy into the 21st Century”.

Beyond being a skylit terminal, this space not only aims to redefine airport design aesthetically but most importantly with sustainability in mind.  The aim is to reduce the carbon footprint by utilizing the self-produced energy whilst reducing the consumption,  With the airport just 15 minutes taxi ride from the city centre this should beckon the travellers wanting to visit the heart of  Tuscany.

The new 538,195 square-foot terminal is expected to see over 5.9 million travellers yearly and a new light railway system will link the city.

Inside will be designed like a “Piazza” ,an Italian square with Arrivals and Departures  facing each other.  It is anticipated phase 1 of the project will be completed in 2026 and phase 2 around 2035.

 

The rooftop vineyard is more than an architectural feat, it’s a celebration of culture, nature, and the timeless allure of wine.  So next time you start your decent, look out your window and imagine raising a glass to the vine-clad rooftop, and the magic of Tuscany.

photos courtesy of ©Rafael Viñoly Architects