Puma Energy’s regional corporate office for the Americas 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.
The building 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 against nature. The building is arranged as a sieve or 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.
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 topping spanning 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. Dimensions of the mat slab have been chosen so (applying the final load) it is always contacting the underlying ground. The thickness of the mat-slab is 3’-3 3/8”, except in areas around the main steel columns where the mat-slab thickness is 6’- 6 3/4”.
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 center, 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.
Ruiz Pardo – Nebreda is a Madrid-based architecture practice founded in 2011 by Marcelo Ruiz Pardo and Sonia Nebreda as a multidisciplinary team operating worldwide attending to an appropriate balance between local knowledge and global expertise.
They have completed works in Puerto Rico, Namibia, Paraguay, Zambia, El Salvador and Spain which has been exhibited in International Biennials of Architecture as well as in collective exhibitions of emerging architecture in several countries. They have been invited as lecturers and guest critics in universities of the U.S., Japan, Hong-Kong, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Spain and Thailand.
Their work has been recently awarded the German Design Award 2018, the International Architecture Award 2017, the S-ARCH Award 2017, as well as the Grand Prize of the XII Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism El Salvador 2016 and the Luis M. Mansilla Award 2016 granted by the Architects Association of Madrid (COAM) among other important accolades.