Productive | Accessible | Ecofriendly: Brownfield Remediation Research Park


Productive | Accessible | Ecofriendly: Brownfield Remediation Research Park

STUDENT   Jesus J. Alfonso Pagan
Pontifical Universidad Catolica de Puerto Rico


Luis Ayala-Rubio, Alberto Dueño Jordán, Jesús O. García Beauchamp, Carlos Quiñones-Maymí, & Luis Alonso Conty 
Pontifical Universidad Catolica de Puerto Rico


After drastic changes in the socioeconomic development of cities, many industrial facilities have passed from dominance to desertion, generating concern among architects and urbanists about how to remediate, rehabilitate, reprogram, and revitalize these areas now known as brownfields. Considering the recent trend of transforming industrial ruins into recreational parks, which rejects any intention of becoming the socioeconomic catalyst that the industry represented, this project aims to develop a new trend of brownfield rehabilitation that carries out a successful practice ‐economically, socially and environmentally‐ defining an archetype that is Productive|Accesible|Ecofriendly.

The PR#127 Industrial Park in Guayanilla & Peñuelas, Puerto Rico, became the largest and most important on the Island during its economic boom in the 1950's & 1960's. After the economy collapsed a decade later, some of these properties were dismantled, while others remain to this day, within a landscape of oxidized towers and water tanks. Today, this industrial landscape is a milestone among the citizens of Puerto Rico. For some, the remains of this industrial corridor have become a symbol of failure and pollution; for others, they form a historical landmark, highly relevant in the history of the Puerto Rican economy.

The aim of this project is to integrate itself in this industrial landscape, while it becomes the antithesis of what the industry represents: a purifier instead of a pollutant, remedial instead of harmful. As a symbol of this duality, the proposed mass renders the silhouette of an inverted industrial archetype through long span steel structures, all the while integrating itself into the industrial landscape through its high‐ tech aesthetic and the use of steel as the main material in elements such as the main structural system ‐ open web girders that span from 80 to 120 feet‐, vertical and horizontal sunscreens, vertical trusses for curtain wall support, and exterior steel grating elevated pathways that allow vegetation to grow below. The ideal program to respond the needs of the site and fit the proposed archetype is a Brownfield Remediation Research Park, which consists of an encounter between scientific research, environmental administration, and land rehabilitation. It has the potential to become a satellite for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an initiative for the public sector of the southern region of Puerto Rico, or a private project for a particular industry within the industrial park. Due to its location, it could easily incorporate research programs in collaboration with different universities of the area, such as the Pontifical University of Puerto Rico in Ponce and the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, both of which are well known for their scientific research programs.

As a research facility focused on brownfield remediation, the healing of the site becomes a priority, but the proposed project remains capable of functioning long after the area is no longer considered a brownfield. To allow this healing process, the landscape design includes remediation gardens and constructed wetlands. The project also integrates clean energy generation on site, with a total of 32,260 square feet of photovoltaic panels as canopies located throughout the parking and roofs of the building, and 25 Vortex Bladeless wind generators, an innovative technology that generates clean energy using the effect of vorticity in the wind. These tall structures allow better integration into the existing industrial landscape when compared to conventional wind turbines due to their resemblance to the industrial towers and chimneys, which define the identity of this place. The way the project puts all these systems and processes together allows for an ecofriendly development on this underused, contaminated land while preserving the important milestone that exists there today.