REMODELLING OF THE SAINT NAZAIRE SUBMARINE BASE

CLIENT: MANUEL DE SOLÀ-MORALES
Saint Nazaire (France)

The project involved the remodelling of the interior of the Saint Nazaire submarine base, built by the Germans during World War II, to convert it into a leisure and shopping area, in close collaboration with the architect Manuel de Solà-Morales. This unique building measures 300 x 130 m in plan and 18 m high.
The project involved connecting the various cells and creating moles, platforms and drawbridges in the new pedestrian corridors created. The moles and platforms on the harbour side were built with a galvanised steel structure paved with wood, anchored to the existing walls with corrugated bars and/or pre-tensioned cables. New walkways, stairs and platforms between the roof and the street level were also included, of steel structures paved with wood or plates and anchored to or hanging from the concrete roof and walls of the base.
The entry of water from the harbour to the interior of the cells (approximately 85 m) was solved by creating reinforced concrete protection dykes and by dredging part of them. To increase the permeability inside the base, openings of various sizes were made in the walls separating the cells (up to 1.2 m thick), in some cases requiring the reinforcement of the resulting lintels with pre-stressed concrete.

Esteyco