In October 2009, tank 41 of the Capeco fuel tank farm in Puerto Rico was accidentally overfilled and caused a large explosion in which another 20 other tanks of the terminal burned and exploded. Luckily, there were no fatalities, but a great ecological catastrophe was caused and the entire area of the terminal was severely contaminated. A few months later, the company owner of this industrial facility went to bankruptcy and Puma Energy acquired it at a public auction with the commitment to decontaminate all the affected area. The company decided to settle their regional headquarters for the Americas in this location.
The building is located in the southwest corner of a tank fuel terminal in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, which has been just renovated. The building is inserted as a visible element of this transformation and overlooks the road from which the access to the complex is placed.
It is located at an intermediate point between the exuberant tropical vegetation of the Caribbean island and the industrial landscape which is strongly characterized by its influence of the United States. Systematization, regularity, repetition, and industry in contrast with nature. The building is arranged as a filter between these two realities and is located in the vertex of greater visibility of the road that faces these two landscapes. Both landscapes cross the large floating platforms making the interior invaded by this contrast.
The building is designed as a vertical sequence of four large slabs made of structural steel acting as four floating platforms. Large open and flexible spaces are available with almost no vertical structure. These platforms extend beyond the limits of the interior space creating large terraces that protect the interior from direct sunlight exposure and can be used as a setting for informal meetings. The horizontal and open space facilitates communication and exchange between users and creates a common link between them and with the surrounding landscape.
This abstract arrangement of the structure forms part of the industrial landscape but letting nature in through its glazed façade. This unitized curtain wall system has been specifically designed and calculated for this particular project considering the critical wind loads from cat. 5 hurricanes, such as hurricane María that hit the island in 2017.
The main structure of the building is solved with a steel structure and comprises several steel frames, formed by standard steel profiles in the longitudinal direction and steel trusses in the transversal direction. The are two main concrete cores at both ends of the building in order to meet the requirements of horizontal displacements, especially considering the high wind and earthquake loads.
The structure of the floors is solved with precast hollow core slabs and a bonded structural toppingspanning between main trusses. The concrete topping is used to transmit horizontal forces to the main concrete cores. In addition, in the longitudinal direction of the building, two longitudinal structural lines have been placed in order to transmit the longitudinal forces to the main concrete cores. There are 5 main steel columns of with lateral steel plates welded from the foundation level to the roof.
A reinforced concrete mat-slab beneath the main vertical structure (steel columns and concrete columns and cores) was constructed as a shallow foundation, taking into account the geotechnical conditions of the site.
The uses of the building are placed according to a gradient from less to higher privacy from the lower to the upper levels. According to this criterion, collective and public spaces are located in the access level, while internal uses, such as workspaces are placed on the upper levels. Communication cores are far from the centre, unlike other office buildings. This arrangement allows more dynamic circulations and large open office areas with a full visual continuity, both inside and towards the outside to the fuel tank terminal and the landscape.
1. Concrete: CEMEX
2. Glass panes: PILKINGTON
3. Aluminium cladding: ALPOLIC
4. Curtain wall system: VALCOR
5. Ceilings: LINDNER
6. Light Fixtures: PHILIPS
7. TPO Roofing: FIRESTONE
8. Raised floor: KINGSPAN
9. Flooring: MILIKEN
10. Doors and frames: TAMCOR
11. Furniture: HERMAN MILLER