September 11, 2017
Hitting Hippo Beach at Zoom Torino with PENETRON
In August 2017, Lisa and Ze Maria, the hippos at Zoom Torino, Italy, moved into their new Malawi Beach habitat thanks to PENETRON crystalline technology. Surface-applied crystalline waterproofing materials from PENETRON prevent penetration of water into concrete, even under high hydrostatic pressure.
The Zoom Torino in Cumiana, a suburb of Turin, Italy, is an unusual zoological park with an “immersive” concept that brings different species together in natural environments. For example, zoo visitors in the Madagascar area are surrounded by lemurs; at Boulder Beach, a swimming pool allows youngster to swim next to penguins, separated by only a glass window.
In the new Malawi Beach habitat, a secluded island sits in an African lake with a white beach; the mostly submerged hippos – Lisa and Ze Maria – swim with thousands of colorful tropical fish – alongside amazed swimmers (and snorkelers) behind a glass barrier.
“Malawi Beach is the first European zoo habitat that brings semi-aquatic animals like the hippo so close to zoo visitors,” says Enricomaria Brac, Director of PENETRON Italy. “You dive into the water until you reach the swimming pool where the two hippos live – you’re separated by only a glass wall.”
Initially, this €1.5 million project specified a conventional PVC membrane for the pool’s concrete structure. However, the PENETRON solution was ultimately chosen by ANRA Costruzioni as a waterproofing solution.
“Adding a crystalline admixture to the concrete during batching turned out to be a simpler solution than installing a conventional membrane; it also helped accelerate the construction schedule,” adds Enricomaria Brac.
Utilizing PENETRON ADMIX to waterproof the concrete base of the Malawi Beach exhibit provided the constructor with the necessary stability to shape the unusual and curved forms that are now part of a natural-looking environment for the hippos. PENETRON ADMIX-treated concrete was applied to a 1,200 m2 area in the new hippo habitat, comprising about 500 m3 of concrete. The construction joints were sealed with PENEBAR-SW waterstop.
“The crystalline technology of our admixture also provided the Zoom Torino project a distinct cost advantage over more conventional membrane solutions,” adds Enricomaria Brac.