The October 2023 reopening of the renowned Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, Egypt, shows off the formidable collection and center of antiquities research in renewed splendor. The Penetron System of crystalline waterproofing products was specified to protect both new and original concrete structures from the region’s high groundwater.
Established in 1891, the Greco-Roman Museum is one of the most significant museums in the Mediterranean region – and one of Alexandria’s most popular tourist destinations. The museum houses 10,000 artifacts dating back from fifth century BC, an era before Alexander the Great, to the Byzantine Empire of the sixth century. The collection showcases ancient Greek, Roman and Ptolemaic civilizations. Byzantine and Coptic arts and architecture are on display alongside ancient Egyptian craftsmanship and commerce excavated in and around Alexandria, including sacred sculptures, mummies, sarcophagus, tapestries, and other objects.
The Greco-Roman Museum’s extended renovation and restoration, which began in 2005, included the construction and repair of numerous concrete structures. Before work could begin, the Museum’s 2,800 m2 basement garage (including foundation slab and retaining walls), the museum water tank (capacity: 84 m3/ 22,200 gallons), and the garage roof required a reliable concrete waterproofing solution due to the high groundwater encountered at the construction site and proximity of he Mediterranean Ocean.
“The project to renew and expand the museum demanded attention to detail in the renovation work – and a solution to ensure long-term durability of both the new and original concrete structures,” adds Ahmed Nada, General Manager of Penetron Egypt.
To treat the new concrete parking garage decks, PENETRON ADMIX, a crystalline waterproofing admixture, was specified by the structural engineer to treat the concrete used for the foundation slab, retaining walls, and roof – for protection from high groundwater levels and pollution from a nearby wastewater treatment plant. The flagstones that lay on the garage roof, protected from the elements with an application of PENEGUARD, now form the museum’s new courtyard. PENEBAR SW 45 swellable waterstop strips were installed to seal the construction joints.
“For the renovation and repair work, the Penetron System, a suite of topical crystalline products, was used to restore the original concrete structures,” adds Ahmed Nada.
Initially, PENEPLUG, a rapid-setting repair grout, was applied to specific areas to stop and seal any active leaks. After proper preparation of the concrete surfaces, PENECRETE MORTAR, a crystalline waterproofing repair grout, was applied to repair and seal any cracks wider than 0.5 mm. Finally, PENETRON, a topically applied crystalline waterproofing material, provided a final coat for permanent protection.
The active ingredients in the Penetron System generate a non-soluble crystalline formation throughout the pores and capillary tracts of the treated concrete. These crystals permanently self-heal and seal micro-cracks, pores, and capillaries against the penetration of water or liquids from any direction. The concrete is now impermeable with increased durability and service life.
"To help ensure the long-term future of the Greco-Roman Museum, the Penetron System provides both new and original concrete structures the ability to self-heal hairline cracks that may form in the future,” states Ahmed Nada. “This ability will minimize future maintenance needs and repair costs.”