The Great Mosque of Algiers

Around six kilometers from the historical center of the Algerian capital, Algiers, a sanctuary of superlatives is growing into the sky. The Djamaa el Djazair – the third largest mosque in the world – is being built on a good 26 hectares directly in the Bay of Algiers. Only the two pilgrimage sites in Mecca and Medina are larger. The supporting elements of the imposing structure are 618 columns made of spun concrete, produced in the concrete pole factory at the FUCHS Europoles headquarters in Neumarkt. The spun concrete columns, which are up to 36 meters high, characterize a structure for eternity that is second to none.

A multifunctional complex

At 265 meters, the minaret of the Great Mosque of Algiers is the tallest in the world. It rises above a gigantic complex that covers an area of ​​375,000 square meters with nearly 1.8 million cubic meters of enclosed space. The client ANARGEMA (Agence Nationale de Réalisation de Gestion de la Mosquée d'Algérie) is investing over one billion euros in its construction. 120,000 people are to be accommodated in the area, in which a large number of cultural and religious institutions are integrated in addition to the church itself. For example, there is a museum and a library with over a million media, but also apartments and a kindergarten.

Special measures for a special project

Despite the enormous size, the overall design by KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten appears airy and filigree. This impression is mainly created by the white color and the slender columns made of spun concrete.

Responsible for this: The specialists from FUCHS Europoles.

In three parts to the goal

The largest 32 of the 618 octagonal spun concrete columns made of high-quality white concrete of the material quality C50/60 are manufactured in three parts for better transport and only put together on the construction site using a socket joint. Its dimensions: 36 meters long and 1.62 meters in diameter. "The production of a support of this size, including the final finishing, takes about three days" explains Biederer.

Spun concrete process makes the difference

In order to be able to achieve the load capacity and appearance of the columns in high-quality fair-faced concrete required by the client, they are manufactured using the spun concrete method – a production technique that FUCHS Europoles has been using for over 50 years and has continuously improved. “We installed a unique conveyor for manufacturing. As the mold rotates, the concrete is gradually poured in, ensuring even distribution. The concrete of the steel mold then rotates around the longitudinal axis at around 800 revolutions per minute." Michael Biederer describes the procedure. The fresh concrete is pressed against the formwork wall with 20 times the acceleration due to gravity and is extremely compacted. In this way, the required extremely smooth, even and non-porous surface is created. The mosque supports also owe their sharp-edged corners to the spun concrete process, which contribute to the aesthetic shaping of the architectural elements.

Know-how as a success factor

However, the production process not only creates a visually appealing surface. The star-shaped reliefs, which adorn around a third of all the supports for the mosque, can already be incorporated during the production process by inserting appropriately patterned rubber matrices. In addition, the centrifugal forces involved in spinning create a void in the center of the support.

The free space can be used excellently with the fire and earthquake-proof mosque supports – the region around Algiers is considered to be at high risk of earthquakes. Because: The drainage of the entire mosque roof takes place via this cavity in the support core. One of the reasons why FUCHS Europoles was able to win the major order, says the technical project manager: "Together with our in-house engineering expertise, the production-technological advantages and special features were ultimately the deciding factor in the award of the contract."

4,377 kilometers of a logistical masterpiece

For the finished supports, the heads of which are partially widened so that they can be connected to the impressive roof construction of the mosque, the 4377-kilometre journey to Algiers starts directly from Neumarkt. Packed in a special film to protect against dirt and moisture, the supports are loaded onto railway wagons by crane in the factory. The train then rolls out of the factory premises in the direction of the port of Bremen. There, the supports were removed, completely repackaged and finally transported by ship to Algeria, where they were integrated directly into the assembly process just-in-time. After a total production time of a year and ten months, the last spun concrete column is on its way in September 2015.


Location: Algiers, Algeria
Execution period: November 2013 to September 2015

  • 618 octagonal spun concrete columns in three diameters
  • The highest quality fair-faced concrete and execution as white concrete in C50/60
  • Integration of drainage pipes in the cavity of the column core
  • Partial widening of the column heads to implement the architectural specifications
  • Integration of inspection openings made of identical fair-faced concrete quality
  • Project participants: KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten GmbH, KREBS+KIEFER Service GmbH, China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited
  • Lengths: 3.5 to 36 meters in diameter
  • Weight: a total of 22,248 tons of white concrete