24 April 2018 | Gijon (Spain)

On Tuesday 24th April a press conference was held in Gijón’s townhall, officiated by Montserrat López, Gijón’s councillor for culture, to present the InnovaConcrete project. María J. Mosquera, full professor of the physical-chemistry of the University of Cádiz (Spain) and coordinator of the project, along with Luis Chillida, son of the well known sculptor and president of the Chillida foundation, and the architect Lorenzo Fernández-Ordóñez, presented the project aimed at the preservation of the 20th Century concrete cultural heritage.

The work on the “Elogio del Horizonte”, one of the selected InnovaConcrete case studies, will start in may. Lorezo Fernández –Ordónez, in charge of the IC product validation on the sculpture, explained the procedure. It starts with a 3d scan of the monument to further asses where the steel frame lies within this 5 ton concrete masterpiece, and following on with analysing it to determine the sampling areas.

The samples, as explained by María J. Mosquera, will be used to study, in laboratory scale, innovative products developed by the scientific team of the InnovaConcrete project. This new approach, based on the production of C-S-H gel, responsible for the engineering properties of concrete, will be developed with additional functions such as superhydrophobicity and corrosion inhibition. Once these cutting-edge products have been validated in laboratory, they will be tested in situ in this and the other selected case studies.

One of the main concerns regarding the “Elogio” is whether this intervention will  change the aesthetics of the sculpture. Luis Chillida, son of Eduardo Chillida, sculpture of Gijóns iconic monument and president of the Chillida foundation, answered this question. He is aware and overjoyed that InnovaConcrete project is not only formed by a team of scientific excellence, but may other prestigious partners in the area of conservation and awareness of cultural heritage. Therefore, Luis Chillida, with the backup of the scientific knowledge of María J. Mosquera and Lorenzo Fernández-Ordóñez, guarantees that the aesthetics of the sculpture will not be altered, only its deterioration rate, giving this 29 year’s young monument, many more years to come.

Luis Chillida also presented numerous cultural activities for all around this monument. From dance by the Kukai company, workshops for the scientific community, activities for schools, selfie contests, all the way to a photography exhibition with exclusive footage of the construction process of the Elogio by Jesús Uriarte.