Media Release

Penetron Technology Helps Protect New Urban Hub in Historic Center of Florence, Italy


The March 2024 inauguration of the Teatro Luxury Apartments, built at the site of the former Teatro Communale (Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino) in Florence, Italy, completes a notable urban renewal effort in the center of this historic city. PENETRON ADMIX, a crystalline concrete waterproofing admixture, protected the below-grade structures against the high groundwater encountered at the construction site.

Located near the Arno River and Cascine Park, the former Teatro Communale (or Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino) was a historic building originally opened in 1862. Damaged several times by fire and World War II bombings, the theater structure housed the popular Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, until the music festival moved to a new complex in 2011. The demolition of the Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino in 2021 left an expansive esplanade and the theater façade, which became the starting point for a new urban center.

Designed by Vittorio Grassi Architects, the transformation of the former Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino includes construction of three new integrated buildings, which now house 156 Teatro Luxury Apartments, managed under the Starhotels brand. In addition to integrating a new public square, the project also comprises a wellness center, coworking areas, a terrace with a solarium, a restaurant, and a two-floor underground parking garage for 170 cars.

“The resurrection of the Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino site into an upscale urban hub in Florence’s Porta al Prato neighborhood is one of the city’s most ambitious development projects in recent history,” adds Enricomaria Gastaldo Brac, CEO & Managing Director of Penetron Italia. “Starhotels offers the luxury units as short and medium-term tourist rentals – an emerging and strategic market for high-end hotel chains.”

Because of the high groundwater level at the construction site, which lies only 305 m (1,000 feet) from the Arno River, the contractor required a robust waterproofing system for the below-grade concrete structures, including basement areas and the parking garage. Penetron Italia was asked for a reliable – and durable – waterproofing solution.

“Thanks to many showcase projects that we successfully completed across the country, PENETRON ADMIX was specified to treat the concrete mix,” says Enricomaria Gastaldo Brac.

As a crystalline waterproofing and permeability reducing admixture, PENETRON ADMIX reacts with moisture in concrete to generate a crystalline formation throughout the pores, micro-cracks and capillary tracts found in concrete. These non-soluble crystals permanently self-heal microcracks, pores and capillaries against the penetration of water or liquids from any direction, substantially reducing concrete permeability. In addition, Penetron crystalline technology also provides low shrinkage and self-healing properties, ensuring permanent protection.

"The Teatro Luxury Apartments project was realized by respecting the cultural heritage of the site while transforming it into an innovative and attractive new center in a famously historic city," concludes Enricomaria Gastaldo Brac. "Penetron is proud to be part of this project.”

The 156 Starhotels Teatro Luxury Apartments and a two-floor underground parking garage for 170 cars were built on the site of the historic Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino.

Protected by Penetron: The 156 Starhotels Teatro Luxury Apartments and a two-floor underground parking garage for 170 cars were built on the site of the historic Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino.

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