The September 2020 inauguration of “The Sign” office park and mixed-use development has transformed a whole neighborhood in southern Milan, Italy. The Penetron System was used extensively in the below-grade structures to ensure a durable, maintenance-free concrete structure.
The Sign is an innovative office and mixed-use complex designed by Progetto CMR for Beni Stabili. Located on the via Ernesto Calindri in the Moncucco-Romolo area of Barona on the southern outskirts of Milan, The Sign is adjacent to the University of Modern Languages Institute (IULM), an international university.
The project has repurposed a large industrial site from the 1950s, which is now completely transformed. A key focus of the project was the restoration of the foundry into a mixed-use complex (four-floors with a total of 4,200 m2). In addition, there are two office towers (10-floors/9,400 m2 and 12-floors/12,600 m2), for a total area of over 26,000 m2. All three buildings share a curtain wall façade with alternating gold-colored blind panels and glazed surfaces in a visually eye-catching sequence. A significant portion of the former industrial site now hosts a large green area and a 4,000 m2 landscaped public square between the two office towers. A “fracture” etched into the square as a ‘sign’ that links the buildings – representing the eponymous development’s name.
Reinforced Concrete Building Goes for LEED Certification
“Designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, The Sign has optimized the use of natural resources,” adds Enricomaria Brac, Managing Director of Penetron Italia. “The sustainability features include dual water systems, rainwater collection, green roofs, innovative office cooling systems, local sourcing for construction materials (including regional woods), and the planting of exclusively native plants for the landscaped areas.”
The main structures of The Sign complex are entirely made of reinforced concrete, including the basement – which house the extensive underground parking areas – and the foundation slab, based on a ‘white tank’ design developed with the Penetron System.
Advantages of the Penetron System
“A white tank design is a concrete structure that uses an integral waterproofing system as part of the concrete,” explains Enricomaria Brac. “This design is a significant improvement over conventional ‘black tank’ methods that rely on bituminous membranes fixed to the concrete surface. Penetron’s white tank design stands out in its simplicity, remarkable durability and self-healing capacity.”
The white tank design takes full advantage of the Penetron System and is well-known as a value engineering solution in the construction industry. PENETRON ADMIX is used to treat the concrete mix – about 85,000 m3 – to completely waterproof the concrete structure; PENEBAR SW waterstop strips are installed along the construction joints and swell when in contact with water to prevent any leakage through construction joints and penetrations; PENECRETE MORTAR is used to seal form-tie holes and repair any honeycombing, leaking penetrations or cracks bigger than 0.5 mm.
“The Penetron System enabled the contractor to save substantial time on the construction schedule, resulting in considerable cost savings,” enthuses Enricomaria Brac. “That’s a very positive sign for the project owners!”