Innova Concrete Selection of Significant 20th Century Heritage Sites in Europe
Construction witnessed a radical change in the 20th century. New needs, new programs and new techniques resulted in a complete transformation of the built environment. Architects and engineers embraced these new materials as a vehicle for new expressivities, which allowed for an idea of progress for society to shape what we now know as modern architecture.
Easy to produce and available in every geography, concrete became the most significant material in this change, extending to every single type of building: first industrial, then communications, housing, cultural, educational, health, leisure, etc.
Today, its legacy is part of our history. Recognizing the value of these 20th-century concrete buildings as heritage is essential, since it means recognizing the transformations society has undergone.
Within the framework of an ambitious project focused on the development of innovative techniques to preserve fair-faced concrete-based monuments, the Innova Concrete Selection of Significant 20th-Century Heritage Sites in Europe aims to raise awareness of the importance of concrete in the built heritage.
This search engine compiles 100 sites that are representative of the importance of concrete in the 20th century. The aim is to transmit the value of fair-faced concrete sites to society, through a series of examples that highlight different aspects of concrete that are relevant to these sites’ significance as cultural heritage.
All the selected sites are outstanding examples of architecture and engineering from the 20th century on technical, social and aesthetic levels. They reflect innovation in building materials and structure, as well as in building methods, construction techniques and detailing. They often exemplify new uses and typologies, characteristic of the social, cultural and economic development of their time, and they are significant in the history of architecture and engineering. The sites, from all 28 countries in the EU, reflect different periods in the 20th century, as well as different currents and approaches to design. They also bear witness to the performance of fair- faced concrete over time, the problems associated with its conservation and its perception in society.
Although the cultural value of these sites is undeniable, society faces difficulties in appreciating them, and some of them have been left to decay. Transmitting the value of concrete is essential to understanding the history of the 20th century, our common history.