De Realtà Mapei n.° 28 - 7/23/2019
MAPEI’s alkali-free, liquid set accelerator for shotcrete was used to speed and strengthen the concrete application that turned a 1950s-era bunker into a luxurious, high-tech wine cavern.
In the world of natural gas, Tenneco has a long history. Around World War II, the company – then known as Tenneco Oil and Gas Co. – controlled the pipelines that deliver oil and gas along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. By the 1950s, a series of acquisitions transformed Tenneco into an international force. With the advent of the Cold War, Tenneco was concerned about security and wanted a location for its company headquarters that could be easily controlled.
In 1956, Tenneco constructed a single facility from which the company could safely control its global gas lines. The site chosen for their new headquarters was in Hockley, Texas – a suburb 40 miles northwest of the facility’s previous location in Houston. At that site, Tenneco also constructed the Tennwood Golf Club, which served as a nearly 1,000-acre (405-hectare) resort for employees and their families.
After the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the Cold War became an international concern. In an effort to protect its global headquarters and employees from a nuclear blast, Tenneco built a 12,900-square-foot (1 198-m2 ) underground nuclear bunker facility with concrete walls measuring 3 feet (0.91 m) in thickness.
The end of the Cold War and the rise of technology brought many changes to the oil and gas industry. A series of mergers resulted in the oil and gas giant becoming a major auto parts company that is now headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois. The company’s former global headquarters in Hockley is now The Clubs at Houston Oaks – one of the most exclusive family resorts in an area known for exclusive resorts.
Sitting on the 1,000-acre (405-hectare) footprint of the Tenneco property, Houston Oaks features luxury homes and lodging, tennis courts, an equestrian center, a shooting range, a clubhouse, a chapel and a soon-to-be championship golf course that is currently under construction on the existing course. Even the underground bunker remains, but it has been transformed into a state-of-the-art, Napa Valley-style wine cellar known as Bunker 55o.
The wine cellar serves as a complement to the resort’s working farm and ranch, a greenhouse (which features an aquaponics farm) and a farm-to-table restaurant. The cellar is always kept at 55oF (13oC) with an ideal humidity of 70 percent. In the cellar, Houston Oaks’ wine club members have the option of reserving storage bunks that have space for 450 to 5,000 bottles of wine each. This massive wine cave also features a private dining room, a bar and event meeting spaces. One echo of Cold War spy drama remains amid all of this luxury: Entry to the cave requires a retina scan.