Cement Museum in San Sebastián
During holidays, we came across a quite interesting museum – the Rezola Cement Museum in the suburbs of San Sebastián in Spain (Basque Country).
The museum was established in 2000 at one of the largest and oldest cement plants in the region (founded in 1850 Cementos Rezola, now part of the FYM-HeidelbergCement Group). The museum is located in a building that used to be a school for children of cement plant workers. The architectural design of the museum has preserved the concrete structure of the old building, with particular emphasis on the preservation of the façade made of concrete slabs.
A visit to the museum begins with a presentation of the history of cement use from antiquity to the present day. It talks about the invention of Portland cement at the end of the 18th century and reinforced concrete structures.
Then we go to the exhibition devoted to the industrial revolution in the Basque Country, the dynamically developing industrial sector and the emergence of the first cement plants.
This part of the exhibition is very interesting, it helps to understand how the development of industry contributed to enriching the region. According to Wikipedia The Basque Autonomous Community ranks first in Spain in terms of per capita income, with a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) per capita being 22% higher than that of the European Union and 30% higher than Spain’s average in 2016.
However, we were most attracted to the interactive exhibition on the extraction and processing of various types of rocks, mainly limestone, and the clinker production process, heating the rawmix and then grinding to obtain the final product.
The museum also presents the use of cement in engineering, architecture and art and the impact of the cement industry on the environment, including the participation of cement companies in the elimination of waste generated by other industries and their use as an alternative source of energy or as a raw material (e.g. fly ashes and power plant ashes).
We recommend a trip to the Cement Museum as an interlude between sunbathing, trekking and visits to traditional museums.
Watch below YouTube video to see how our visit to the museum looked like:
There are some other cement / concrete museums in the world:
- Museu del Ciment Asland de Castellar de n’Hug in the province of Barcelona
- La Fabrica in Sant Just Desvern near Barcelona – an abandoned cement factory in which architect Ricardo Bofill decided to breathe new life and transform it into his home and studio
- Cement Industry Museum in Novorossiysk, the main center of the cement industry in Russia
- Opened in 2017, the Concrete Museum in Odessa, Ukraine
- Slemmestad Cement Museum around 35 km away from Oslo, Norway