May 29, 2019
Built on Penetron Technology – the New Residential Towers of Bangkok
The March 2019 opening of the ICONSIAM development (mainly two luxury tall condominium towers – the “Residences at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok” and the “Magnolias Waterfront Residences”) has substantially elevated the Bangkok, Thailand skyline. Penetron technology was used to waterproof the below-grade structures and the development’s water storage tank.
Designed in a modernist “oriental contemporary” style with a silver, gold, and rose gold color motif, “Residences at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok” and the “Magnolias Waterfront Residences” form the focal center of ICONSIAM, a mixed-use retail and residential development that now dominates the Bangkok skyline. Located on the banks of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, in the Thonburi district of Bangkok, the 50-billion baht (US$31.4 million) project covers approximately 80,000 m2 of land with 400 m (1,320 feet) of prime riverfront access. ICONSIAM is the largest single development project launched in Bangkok.
The Residences at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok are situated in a 52-floor condominium tower on a prime location, with enormous high-end shopping and entertainment centers next door. These two centers comprise approximately 525,000 m2 of retail and dining space and a 3,000-seat auditorium. Additionally, there are approximately 10,000 m2 of riverside public parks and plazas that surround the residential towers.
“The outsize dimensions of the ICONSIAM development make it a milestone project for Bangkok, with many notable features,” says Jozef Van Beeck, Director of International Sales & Marketing for The Penetron Group. “For example, the architectural design of the Residences at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is based on an integrated single load corridor layout. This allows all condo units to face the river and have an unobstructed view of downtown Bangkok.”
Next door is the sister project, the Magnolias Waterfront Residences, a condominium tower with 379 luxury apartment units made up of one- to four--bedroom residences. At a height of 315 m (1,033-feet), this 70-floor condominium tower is one of the tallest buildings in Thailand. Facilities at the Magnolias Waterfront Residences include swimming pool, fitness gym, shopping mall, steam and sauna rooms, 3 m (10-foot) ceiling heights in all units, a river boat to downtown, and a children’s playground.
Building in a Rice Field
Construction plans for both residential towers specified two below-grade floors to accommodate the underground parking garages. However, given the riverside location of the construction site and Bangkok’s geology, the project engineers faced sizeable challenges.
“Bangkok is located in the midst of Thailand’s largest rice-growing region, which is blanketed by a layer of highly compressible, soft marine clay,” explains Jozef Van Beeck. “However, what’s great for rice farmers is not so good for buildings like the ICONSIAM towers.”
In addition to the spongy clay, intensive pumping of the groundwater in Bangkok also resulted in the dewatering of the city’s sand aquifers below the clay. The ensuing compression of the clay layer has noticeably dropped the level of the ground.
Spray-on Waterproofing Solution
Given this situation at the construction site, the ICONSIAM project engineers met with the local Penetron team during the planning stage to develop a solution that could provide the required degree of waterproofing – and overall durability for the foundation structures of both towers. PENETRON, a surface-applied, crystalline waterproofing material, was sprayed on all below-grade concrete walls and slabs, as well as the concrete water storage tank that supplies drinking water to both towers. This treatment prevents water and water-borne chemicals from entering the concrete, even under the levels of hydrostatic pressure encountered in Bangkok.
“Once applied to the surface, PENETRON penetrates deeply into the structure, filling microcracks, pores and capillaries in the concrete with an insoluble crystalline formation,” adds Jozef Van Beeck. “Also, cracks that develop during the lifetime of the concrete are self-healed by PENETRON. That’s permanent concrete protection.”
Sealing Concrete with a Sub-Surface Gel
PENESEAL PRO, a spray-on liquid sealer, was applied to the rooftop surfaces – about 40,000 m2 – of both towers to seal hairline cracks and protect the concrete against water penetration. PENESEAL PRO creates a sub-surface gel that seals the pores, capillaries and cracks. The product remains active as long as water is present, sealing any future hairline cracks.
“Because of its ability to respond to thermal stress, PENESEAL PRO was the ideal solution for the concrete roofs of the ICONSIAM towers,” notes Jozef Van Beeck.