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Concrete matter: building the Bruges submarine pens (1917-18)
Bekers, W.; De Meyer, R. (2018). Concrete matter: building the Bruges submarine pens (1917-18), in: Wouters, I. et al. Building Knowledge, Constructing Histories, Volume 1. Proceedings of the 6th International Congress on Construction History (6ICCH 2018), July 9-13, 2018, Brussels, Belgium. pp. 131-139
In: Wouters, I. et al. (2018). Building Knowledge, Constructing Histories, Volume 1. Proceedings of the 6th International Congress on Construction History (6ICCH 2018), July 9-13, 2018, Brussels, Belgium. CRC Press: Boca Raton. ISBN 9780429446757. 718 pp., more

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Document type: Conference paper

Author keywords
    World War I; Bruges; Submarine Shelter; Military Architecture; Precast Concrete

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Abstract
    Starting in August 1917, a large submarine shelter was erected in the German-occupied port of Bruges. Its construction completed a transition from mixed steel-and-timber shelters to all-concrete bunkers in this area. The new Gruppenunterstande prefigured many of the typological, technological and logistic key features of the iconic submarine pens from World War II, when lessons learnt from the Bruges prototype were to be pushed to extremes. The case of the Bruges submarine pens exemplifies the scientifically managed construction site and hints at the underexposure of experimental military concrete technology in architectural construction history. It is argued that the conflict period, rather than forming a gap in an otherwise continuous evolution of building practice, created certain opportunities for a modern and experimental attitude towards building typology and construction.

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