Open in December 2018 just time for the new year, the Bicocca Student Dormitory in Milan, Italy, was initially faced with a demanding construction schedule and a budget that allowed for no mistakes – or delays. Penetron crystalline products provided an elegant solution to both challenges, on time and accelerating the budget.
Owned and financed by InvestiRE SGR, a private investment company specializing in real-estate assets, the Bicocca Student Dormitory is located on the Viale Innovazione in the Milanese district of Bicocca, across from the University of Milano-Bicocca campus and the Teatro degli Arcimboldi. The modernist design of geometric white façades by Goring & Straja Studio (GaS) envelopes a building with a 1,000 m2 (11,000-square-foot) footprint, featuring 15 above-ground floors and two underground floors.
Tight schedule, tight budget
“The builder, Stahlbau Pichler, was faced with an extremely ambitious construction schedule and a tight budget,” explains Enricomaria Brac, Director of Penetron Italia. “In addition, the construction site had high groundwater levels that presented some challenges, and the initial construction plans had specified a membrane solution for the below-grade structures.”
Because of the tight schedule and restrictive budget, the project managers quickly realized that installation of a membrane would completely overwhelm the project deadlines. In addition, the expense of correctly installing a bituminous membrane was not covered by the budget. After reviewing a proposal made by the Penetron Italia team, the builder decided against a membrane solution and specified PENETRON ADMIX for all below-grade concrete structures of the Bicocca Student Dormitory.
Keeping on schedule
Unical, the ready-mix supplier, worked with the Penetron Italia team to come up with a concrete mix that met the waterproofing performance parameters defined by the project specifications. Added to the concrete mix during batching in pre-measured soluble bags as a waterproofing treatment, PENETRON ADMIX had the added advantage of helping the builder accelerate the construction schedule over the previously specified membrane.
“Our team worked with the project manager and the ready-mix supplier to ensure the right mix that would meet the structural demands of the project, which included a wide array of structural joints and other details,” adds Mr. Brac. “Also, the simplicity of adding PENETRON ADMIX in pre-measured, quality-controlled soluble bags to the concrete mix proved advantageous for the concrete supplier.”
Permanent seal for concrete
The active ingredients in PENETRON ADMIX react in a catalytic process to generate a non-soluble crystalline network throughout the pores and capillary tracts of the concrete. This reaction permanently seals cracks, pores and capillaries against the penetration of water or chemicals from any direction, drastically reducing the permeability (and cracking) of the below-grade concrete structures of the Bicocca Student Dorm building – guaranteeing a waterproof seal.
PENETRON ADMIX was mixed into the concrete for the base slab and the perimeter walls in the below-grade structures; a total of about 1,000 m3 (1,300 cubic yards) of concrete was treated with the crystalline admixture.
“The innovative Penetron crystalline technology provides a 'self-healing' capability to the concrete that remains active for the life of the concrete matrix,” concludes Mr. Brac.