The concrete pillars of the Fairmont Monte-Carlo luxury hotel, which have been gradually eroded by the sea since 1975, are getting a facelift. The hotel is currently using innovative techniques to help the pillars stand up to erosion.
Building a hotel that literally dips into the Mediterranean Sea helps guests witness stunning views, but comes at a cost. 45 years of erosion has taken its toll and needed to be addressed. The mammoth hotel is one of the largest resorts in Europe, boasting 596 guest rooms held up by 40 pillars. Day in and day out, the Mediterranean waves lap up against these white concrete pillars.
For the last three months, construction workers have been reinforcing the 11-metre high pillars. Over the years, the pillars, which are 1.8 metres in diameter, have been regularly maintained. But this latest large-scale intervention will help the pillars stand up to salt-water erosion for the next 25 years.
The company Vinci has been entrusted to reinforce the Fairmont’s pillars using two innovative techniques. Vinci is the same company which was contracted to build the highest tower in the Principality, the Odéon Tower, which stands at 170 metres tall.
Cathodic protections uses electricity to stop erosion
The first technique is putting a covering shell on each pillar, which will serve as protection for the reinforced concrete frame. The white shell is made of high-performance fibre-reinforced concrete. Before applying this second skin, construction teams clean the old reinforced concrete, (original to the building and created in the 1970s) to get rid of any cracks and traces of corrosion. This is done using pressurized water.
Each pillar will then receive something called ‘cathodic protection’. This method will integrate each pillar with a system that emits a constant electric current. The current, provided by a DC electrical power source, will control the corrosion of the pillars and help prevent stress corrosion cracking. The reinforced pillars are scheduled to be ready in 2023.