Completed in December 2018, the new Maksem Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, used Penetron crystalline technology to secure the above-ground and below-grade concrete structures from the area’s high-water table.
Taksim Square, located in Beyoğlu on the European side of Istanbul, is a major tourist area well-known for its restaurants, shops, and hotels, and is considered the center of modern Istanbul. Plans to erect a mosque at Taksim Square had been discussed for decades, with supporters arguing there are not enough Muslim places of worship close to one of the city’s busiest hubs.
“Finally, in 2017, construction of the Maksem Mosque began at the site of an old masjid that faced Taksim Square,” says Haluk Taylan, Director of Penekim, the Penetron company in Turkey. “Sur Yapi, the project’s construction company, looked immediately for a reliable waterproofing solution for the below-grade concrete structures.”
Treating Both New and Existing Concrete
Designed by two architects, Şefik Birkiye and Dr. Selim Dalaman, the plans for the mosque laid out a 1,500 m2 (16,000-square-feet) footprint to accommodate about 2,600 worshippers. The project also included retail areas for shopping, an exhibition hall, and a conference center. The mosque’s modern architecture was inspired by the 20th-century Art Deco movement. The total height of the building, excluding the minaret tower, is about 30 m (100-feet), the same as two historical churches in the area.
“Our local Penetron team in Istanbul came up with a solution that could be used for existing and new concrete structures, while ensuring a high level of waterproofing for the whole building,” explains Haluk Taylan. “The Penetron crystalline products provide a maximum level of concrete durability – and minimize the need for maintenance or repairs later on.”
Providing a Waterproof Solution
Construction of the new mosque began with the above-ground structures, where PENETRON ADMIX, a concrete admixture, was added by the ready-mix supplier to the concrete mix during batching to provide a waterproof solution. The resulting construction joints were sealed with PENEBAR SW-55A swellable waterstop strips.
The below-grade basement structures added a total of 10,000 m2 (110,000 square feet) of additional space spread over four underground floors (including a multi-story parking garage). PENETRON ADMIX was added to the concrete mix at the job site, the PENEBAR SW-55 waterstop (1,250 m/4,125-feet) strips sealed the cold joints and PENETRON topical material was sprayed on the concrete basement walls and foundation slab as a slurry.
Protecting Concrete from Deterioration
“Supervision and quality control of the mixing procedures for the PENETRON ADMIX was carried out on-site by a member of our experienced team in Istanbul,” adds Haluk Taylan. “Overall, the flexibility of the Penetron products enabled the builder to save time on the construction schedule.”
The active ingredients in Penetron crystalline products react to the moisture in concrete in a chemical reaction that generates a non-soluble crystalline formation throughout the pores and capillary tracts of the concrete. This formation permanently seals micro-cracks, pores and capillaries against the penetration of water or liquids from any direction, even under the hydrostatic pressure encountered at Taksim Square. Ultimately, the crystalline technology protects concrete from deterioration – and substantially enhances durability – extending the life cycle of the structure.