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Spanish factory puts on a show

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It seems there can be no escape from the concrete jungle, writes Terri Whitehead. In sleepy San Sebastian, Spain, a beautiful drive from nearby Bilbao, there is an unusual museum devoted to the history and architectural potential of concrete.

Concrete and cement manufacturing are the local industry in this area, and Rezola Concrete celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2000 by opening a museum next to its factory. The museum is housed in a sculptural, modern concrete building, located on the site of the former school facilities for the Rezola workers'children.

It has a permanent exhibition, divided into five main parts: The Cement Manufacturing Process; The History of Rezola; Cement and the Environment; The Applications of Concrete for Engineering, Architecture and Art; and The History of Cement.

The exhibitions are mainly visual, and entertaining even to those with no knowledge of Spanish.

Concrete lovers will find it is worth a visit to see the photographs, information about the local history, architectural models and samples of concrete. Past temporary exhibitions have had various themes, many featuring great Spanish architects and artists including Gaudí and Eduardo Chillida. The next exhibition, 'Alvar Aalto: A Gentler Structure for Life', will run from November to December.

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