Biodynamic cement for Palazzo Italia - this is the innovative solution developed by Italcementi for the construction of the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2015.
For an ambitious project like Palazzo Italia, leading Italian specialised companies have been called on to pitch in to design and build an extraordinary structure.
The Italian Pavilion will be the throbbing heart of Expo 2015. The architectural design, by Nemesi & Partners, envisages the construction of a complex structure whose exterior and some interior spaces recall the shapes of branches in a thick forest.
The entire outdoor surface and part of the interiors will consist of i.active biodynamic cement panels, obtained using Syl-Comp technology from the new material developed at i.lab, the heart of Italcementi’s research and innovation.
The product’s name is a summary of its innovative characteristics. The "bio" component is given by the product’s photocatalytic properties, originating from the active ingredient TX Active, patented by Italcementi.
In direct sunlight, the active principle contained in the material "captures" certain pollutants present in the air and converts them into inert salts, helping to purify the atmosphere from smog. The mortar is also made from 80-per-cent recycled aggregates, part of which consists of scraps from the cutting of Carrara marble, and provide a superior brilliance compared to traditional white cements.
The "dynamic" component is a specific characteristic of the new material, whose particular fluidity allows the creation of complex shapes like those found in the Palazzo Italia panels.
Thanks to its high workability, i.active biodynamic can penetrate the frameworks, designed one by one and manufactured by Styl-Comp, and form the final design of the panel, ensuring an extraordinary surface quality.
The material also features outstanding workability and resistance compared to classic mortars. Its initial fluidity is three times greater – 300mm versus 100mm. it is twice as resistant to compression, over 60MPa compared to 30MPa of classic mortars, and twice as resistant to flexion, over 10MPa against 5MPa.
"Our pavilion, inspired by the Vivaio Italia (Tree Nursery Italy) and Albero della Vita (Tree of Life) concept by Marco Balich, will be a window on the past, the present and the future of Italy. Innovation will be one of the key drivers of the Milan Expo," Diana Bracco, president of Expo 2015 and commissioner for the Italian Pavilion, said recently.
Carlo Pesenti, CEO of Italcementi, said that by providing materials for the realisation of the architectural and engineering quality that Italy is able to express, the company’s performance and solutions have contributed to the creation of the symbol buildings of several expos. From Paris to Shanghai to Milan, Italian research wins again.
"Creativity and innovation go side by side," said Marco Balich, artistic director of the Italian Pavilion.
"Creativity is usually the generating force and the tool required for innovation to come to fruition. In our case, the Vivaio concept was a stimulus and a source of inspiration for the study and design of the Italian Pavilion, of which Palazzo Italia is a part, and from which the architects took inspiration.
"It is very gratifying for me to see how the concept has been embraced and developed by Italcementi, and how they created biodynamic cement especially for the entire outer structure of Palazzo Italia."