The preservation of fair-faced concrete as a historical practice – Major parallel developments in concrete preservation in Germany between 1961-2001

The number of buildings with exposed concrete façades increased dramatically after the Second World War. Consequently, an increasing number of them are now the focus of preservation efforts. Notably, fair-faced concrete buildings usually already show traces of previous preservation measures. The question of how to deal with these temporal layers therefore arises, especially in the context of monument preservation – but to date, the traces of historical concrete repairs are not given any particular value.

The repair of damage has been part of concrete construction from the very beginning, since the chemistry of the composite material was not fully understood until the 1960s: From this time onward, research into damage processes has received a significant boost from new findings on the relationship between carbonation and reinforcement corrosion. The dissertation project thus focuses on a period of accelerated parallel developments, in which the repair of concrete becomes an independent topic for the first time. On the one hand, there is a need for standardization of new procedures, but as a consequence, there is also a call for more "monument-friendly" methods.

The aim of this work is to show the overriding lines of development in the genesis of materials and methods for repair of fair-faced concrete buildings and to examine their continuity. In particular, the aforementioned development is to be considered in relation to the respective contemporary scientific findings on damage processes, the state of diagnostic procedures and repair techniques. The literature and archival based research will be compared with surveys on selected case study buildings. Hence, buildings that have been prominently discussed in the German professional discourse of the time are of particular interest.

The evaluation of repaired areas of exposed concrete facades has so far been determined solely by consideration of technical and aesthetic aspects. For the first time, the project aims to extend this to include the aspects of the history of science and that of building technology.

Elisabeth Hinz, Dipl.-Ing. (Arch.) TU Dresden
seit 2021

Associated with a research project funded by DFG
How to deal with historical concrete repairs? – Evaluation and handling of previous repair measures on fair-faced concrete buildings from the period of High Modernity