The Diefenbunker – Some Questions

So – the Diefenbunker.

A Google search on Diefenbunker will produce a moderate number of interesting hits, but on examination most are derived from several recent foundation documents. (There are also some very interesting news and TV clips from the 60s, showing the concern with which Cold War threats were managed in Canada.)

From a design and construction perspective, the Bunker is touted as being an example of many engineering innovations, such as first use of the Critical Path Management method for project control, application of submarine design elements within the structure, complete grounding of the strucutre to protect sensitive communications equipment, use of a no-break power system, length continuous concrete pours to provide the seamless construction necessary to resist planned overpressures from nuclear blasts, and many other claimed advanced techniques for that period.

Perhaps most intriguingly – how is a structure designed and built that is intended to house up to 500 people, for critical government functions and basic accommodation, totally locked in for up to 30 days, should the worst consequence of the Cold War occur?

I’ve been a volunteer at the Bunker since the fall of 2013, specifically in the area of assisting the digitization of the Museum’s vast collection.

I’ve also taken up the challenge of a personal project to focus on some selected design and construction innovations, describe them more fully, and ideally locate some of the individuals who may have been involved at the time. The product would be a publication (smaller than a book, larger than a brochure) to be given to the Diefenbunker and other interested organizations to support their education programs.

Given the 50-plus years since the Bunker’s construction, the possibility of being able to talk with people who were directly involved is becoming increasingly unlikely, but perhaps there are second-order opportunities among family and colleagues.

Are you out there?

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About ottawazoe

retired combat engineer officer, former provincial public servant, currently federal public servant, with an abiding interest in our fascinating local history
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