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Unique Project: A Modern Prison in France

Date published: April 18, 2016

Unique Project: A Modern Prison in France

In 2010, heavy rains flooded the 30-year-old correctional facility in Draguignan. “The damage was so extensive that the facility had to be evacuated. Can you imagine having to do that during [the course of] a natural disaster?” said Christophe Barbato, CEMEX Ready-Mix Director for the Var Alpes-Maritimes in the Southeast area of France.

Because Draguignan is the seat of a main court, it was necessary for the town to construct a new facility quickly. Designed according to modern standards, the new building is being raised at a different location that will better withstand the region’s environment. “In total, CEMEX supplied 24,000 m3 of ready-mix concrete for this new complex,” said Barbato. “We were pleased to respond to the city's need after this emergency.”

Unique Project: A Modern Prison in France

Internal texture of the perimeter wall

In the final design chosen by the city, aesthetics was taken into consideration along with the crucial security and confidentiality concerns for the new 29,000 m2 facility. The design firm explained, through their website, that “the choice of a clean plan and a clean façade facilitates our understanding of this complex project that has intertwined functionality [for which] each space was treated for its specific purpose.” CEMEX designed special technical solutions to meet the needs of the architects who were looking for a project featuring raw materials, unity of color, and carefully finished facings.

At CEMEX, we pride ourselves on our understanding of “materiality:” choosing or even developing the right material for the right purpose in order to fulfill a design. These considerations were specially important at Draguignan. According to Barbato, “the customer had many quality requirements, which our teams were able to easily supply."

The four-hectare field where construction is ongoing was chosen for its higher altitude in order to reduce the risk of a similar flooding in the future. However, this came with its own set of challenges: the terrain varies along the perimeter. In order to adapt to the changes in terrain, the inclination of the perimeter wall is different throughout its length, requiring CEMEX teams to adjust the plasticity of the architectural concrete at the different pour sites.

For the accommodation units, CEMEX employed a solution that makes it possible to integrate insulation as a middle layer directly within the concrete walls, supplying a special mix of concretes for the pattern-imprinted walls while ensuring very high-performance thermal insulation for the outer walls of the buildings. In order to handle the specific constraints of these concretes and obtain an optimal level of siding, CEMEX’s technical teams carried out numerous preliminary tests on site.

Lastly, the wall around the perimeter of the complex is one of the most essential security features of this project. CEMEX provided a solution for the six-meter (~20 feet), 50-centimeter (~20 inch) thick high walls and a rounded, anti-grip ridge.

All of these features required special attention to materiality and very efficient logistics when pouring. This capacity for adaptation meant that CEMEX could meet the specific expectations of an unusual project and prove itself a key player in the region's development.

Unique Project: A Modern Prison in France

General view of the construction site

CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries. CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through innovative building solutions, efficiency advancements, and efforts to promote a sustainable future.

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