Roman déjà-vu

  • With a total of approximately 300 m² of Murus Romanus formliner from NOEplast, contractors Razél and Chantier Moderne Sud simulated the convincingly effective appearance of ancient ruins on about 5000 m² of concrete surfaces.

  • Reminiscent of the past: whether circular water towers, masonry ruins or curved bridge arches, it is all apparently built of beds of natural stone but was formed using Murus Romanus from NOE.

  • Convincingly real “old masonry” can be economically expressed in concrete, thus the “genius loci” of the region is also brought into effect in its transportation infrastructure.

  • Convincingly real “old masonry” can be economically expressed in concrete, thus the “genius loci” of the region is also brought into effect in its transportation infrastructure.

Ancient masonry cast in concrete

The countryside around Frejus in southern France is characterised by the sandstone in its surface soils and makes the area quite unmistakable. It could be said that the sandstone defines the identity of Frejus and its environs. And this identity derived from the stone had now to be expressed in a wide range of utilitarian buildings and infrastructure works by introducing a very visible and unmistakable “eye-catcher” into the Frejus streetscape as part of the redevelopment of a whole urban quarter. It would be an exceptional form of déjà-vu. This was precisely what the city fathers intended.

The streetscape arising from the redevelopment makes a strong reference to history; it presents a sense of modern times but also reaches back to the construction materials selected by the Romans in Frejus. The Romans not only used the pink sandstone for their residential buildings, they also constructed aqueducts, amphitheatres and arenas out of this relatively easy to work natural stone. And what was more natural for the architects of today’s “architecture ouvrage d’art” than to express these historic surroundings by constructing arch bridges or underpasses, fortified towers and various earth-retaining and noise protection walls along a complete road project economically in concrete, allowing the “Genius Loci” of this region to make its effects visible even in the transportation infrastructure. The cultural heritage of the Romans and the Middle Ages forms a splendid backdrop: the arena, aqueduct, Roman theatre and an archaeological museum with a two-headed Hermes; the diocesan town, built almost completely from pink sandstone, has therefore also been included in the “route of the famous theatres” by the Département Var.

The heads of those responsible for delivering this idea were once again spinning with thoughts on how to create a suitable concrete texture. Following detailed advice from NOE France, the obvious choice was NOEplast texture Murus Romanus, which gives the observer the impression of an elaborately bedded natural stone. The Méditerranée Préfa precasting works used a total of approximately 300 m² of Murus Romanus formliner from NOEplast to manufacture the precast units, with which contractors Razél and Chantier Moderne Sud simulated the convincingly effective appearance of ancient ruins with about 5000 m² of apparently jointless concrete surfaces. The joints of the precast units had to continue or disappear in the joints in the masonry in order not to create the impression of split stones, therefore the liners had to be cut to correspond exactly with the masonry courses! The concrete texture Murus Romanus produced by textured formliners from NOEplast has long since been accepted as “natural” in France. And as the current high-flyer in the NOEplast range, it has been shown in a favourable light by the personal flair of the city fathers and the architect.

This project proves once more that no other material is so versatile and therefore so efficient in use as concrete. NOEplast brings this material and its surface to life, giving it aesthetic form. NOEplast can be used with the same precision on site with in-situ concrete as it can be in the precasting works, with the robustness of the PU formliners allowing 100 or more reuses.