Culture/leisure/tourism / Cultural Center
Fritz Todt, founder and main OT executive, Organisation Todt (OT) – civil and military engineering organisation in Nazi Germany, Third Reich
Concrete by reinforcement
Concrete is a relatively brittle material that is strong in compression but less so in tension.
To increase its overall strength, steel rods, wires, mesh or cables may be embedded in concrete before it sets. This reinforcement, often known as rebar, resists tensile forces. By forming a strong bond, the two materials are able to resist a variety of applied forces, effectively acting as a single structural element .
In this case, the concrete can be made by mixing the components directly on site, or it may be transported from a production plant in concrete-mixer trucks.
This method has the disadvantage of leaving the concrete exposed to the elements while it is setting. Whereas, with other methods, the environmental conditions can be controlled during setting, providing greater control over the outcome, with cast-in-place concrete a series of tests and protocols are necessary to verify its final strength.
- textured walls
- wooden formwork finish
- stamped concrete
- exposed aggregate concrete, colored concrete, etc.
Beams are the horizontal load-bearing elements of the frame. Columns are the vertical elements of the frame and act as the building’s primary load-bearing element. They transmit the beam loads down to the foundations.
State of Conservation
Under the German occupation during the Second World War, the Atlantic ports of France became strategic enclaves for the defense of continental Europe against a possible Allied attack from England. The port of Bordeaux was one of five submarine bases constructed in a record time, run by a mixed organ of military and civil engineers, who played a key role in the construction of large-scale infrastructures for the Third Reich. It was called was the Todt Organization (OT) and, in 1944, it managed more than 1,400,000 workers under conditions of forced labor, prisoners of war, and detainees from occupied countries.
This gigantic bunker, able to stand up to air raids, is colossal in size: 245 meters long, 162 meters wide, and 20 meters high. It consists of 11 independent bays linked by an interior road and is located on the water’s edge, on one of the docks of the Garonne River, about 100 km from the Bay of Biscay, which can be reached via the Gironde estuary. The 3.5-meter-thick concrete walls were covered by a second 2.1-meter-thick shell made of the same material, in order to withstand the increasing power of the allied bombs. A third reinforcement, using a system called frangos – a framework of concrete beams on the roof that was meant to absorb the impact of bombs – was never completed. In total, more than 600,000 m3 of concrete were used in its construction.
The base was evacuated at the end of August 1944 and occupied by the Free French Forces on the 26th of that same month. The final submarines had left port just two days before. Today, the space, essentially intact, is used as a cultural center while preserving its original appearance. A variety of concerts, exhibitions and art installations are programmed there, occupying just a third of the complex; the remaining space is still waiting to be filled.
Boulevard Alfred Daney
Nouvelle-Aquitaine (Région), Gironde (Département) Country: France (FR) 51100 Bordeaux
Fundación DOCOMOMO Ibérico