Puma Energy's regional corporate headquarters for the Americas is located on the southwest corner of the Bayamon fuel tank terminal in Puerto Rico. The building is located midway between the lush tropical vegetation of the Caribbean island and the industrial landscape that is strongly characterised by its US influence. Systematisation, regularity, repetition, and industry, in contrast to nature. The headquarters is arranged as a filter between these two realities and is located at the most visible vertex of the road that confronts these two landscapes, and from which the industrial complex is accessed.

Between platforms

The building is designed as a vertical sequence of four large structural steel slabs that act as four floating platforms. Large, open-plan, flexible spaces are arranged as work areas with almost no vertical structure. This vertical structure of screens, cores, and pillars is organised like a game board in an irregular fashion, freeing the interior from structural constraints and orienting the workspace towards specific areas of the landscape. 

These platforms extend beyond the boundaries of the interior space, creating large terraces that protect the interior from direct exposure to sunlight and can be used as a stage for informal meetings. The horizontal, open space facilitates communication and exchange between users and creates a common link between them and the surrounding landscape. This abstract arrangement of the structure forms part of the industrial landscape but lets nature in through its glazed façade.

The uses of the building are placed according to a gradient from less to more privacy from the lower to the upper levels. According to this criterion, public and collective spaces are located on the access level, while internal uses, such as workspaces, are located on the upper levels. The communication cores are located at the ends. This layout allows for dynamic circulations and large open office areas with full visual continuity, both inside and outside towards the fuel tank terminal and the landscape. 

Project background

In October 2009, tank 41 at the CAPECO fuel tank terminal in Puerto Rico accidentally filled up and caused a large explosion in which 20 other tanks at the terminal burned and exploded. Fortunately, there were no fatalities, but there was a major ecological catastrophe and the entire terminal area was severely contaminated. A few months later, the company owner of this industrial facility went bankrupt and Puma Energy acquired it in a public auction. This company also took on the challenge and social commitment to decontaminate the entire affected area and invest in the renovation and upgrading of the entire industrial facility.