El Tanque (The Tank) Cultural Space, currently protected by the Cultural Heritage of Spain, is an old oil refinery tank built in the ’50s of the XXth century. The preservation of this industrial heritage facility in its original location, in the Cabo Llanos neighborhood of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, was decided in 1997 when the urban growth of the city converted the former industrial area occupied by the CEPSA refinery in a residential neighborhood. The adaptive reuse of El Tanque kept the essence and original aspect of the container, it offered a basic solution for access and sought for achieving the constructive quality of a timeless piece of work. Recycled materials from the dismantled refinery itself were used to build all the new elements. A ramp shaped facility lodges the reception area, a small vestibule, an information desk and toilets.
Global Architecture & Design Awards 2018
Third Award | Category: Landscape Design (Concept)
Architects: Fernando Martin Menis
Country: Spain

The entrance is located four meters below the interior ground floor and is marked by a 5 m wide swing door made of recycled unpolished steel. The gentle ramp together with the high ceiling and the sidewalls compose a space of a marked perspective, which provides a great visual depth to the access path. A foreign object was rescued and added, an old passenger finger retrieved from the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is here de-contextualized to serve as footbridge for access from the street.

El Tanque Garden: Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of this cultural space, we have been commissioned to redesign its environment. We propose to cover the entire perimeter of El Tanque with banana trees plantations as a way to refer its historical agricultural landscape prior to locating here the CEPSA refinery, back in the 1930’s. We want to enable the visitors to perceive the history traces and understand its evolution. We look for a surprise effect: It should appear as if nature invaded the industrial ruins and gained the overwhelming presence of this ancient and huge oil tank. The design is meant to provoke the visitors to a kind of romantic worship towards these industrial ruins now repurposed for art.

Our landscape design involves a botanical approach: There will be mostly, some 700 units, trees of Musa Paradisiaca, commonly known as banana trees. They grow fast, up to 7 m tall, and usually bloom in the summer. They need to face the sun so the chosen location is ideal for its climatology. Inside the perimeter of the original wall of the tank, cypress trees will be planted, which, like the great majority of conifers, are evergreen, growing up to 20 m high with a diameter of about 60 cm. Pyramid shaped and fast growing, the cypresses will allow, since their early life, to enjoy a green environment.  In addition, responding to the current needs of El Tanque Cultural Space managers and its users, our design includes additional storage area, additional toilets, changing rooms, technical rooms and a cafeteria with terrace.

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