Mexichem solutions help restore iconic European architecture
November 22, 2018
By Andrew Livingstone
Some of Europe’s most iconic, beautiful and historic buildings have been given a 21st-century makeover without losing their original charm – all using innovative Mexichem solutions.
How do you construct a modern infrastructure in a city that’s hundreds of years old, without destroying its history and charm?
That’s a question architects and engineers are facing as they renovate historical buildings and redevelop existing structures, which were built to standards that don’t fit today’s world.
The question is particularly important in the dense city centers of Europe, where buildings from different centuries stand side-by-side. Many old buildings are protected by cultural heritage laws, as they add to the cities’ charm, attract tourism and even form part of the city’s identity.
But inside, they’re often not suitable for modern life, with ancient plumbing, insulation and more.
Renovation can be a chance to install cutting-edge water and energy management systems without changing key structural elements that give buildings their unique character.
Here are five examples of building renovations in Europe that employed different water management solutions using Wavin-brand products.
State Opera House, Prague
It’s one of the most iconic historic buildings in a city famous for its architecture – and Mexichem is an important part of making sure it will remain so for years to come.
The State Opera House in Prague, which first opened its doors in 1888, has been graced by some of the world’s best classical and operatic talent. Since its last renovation in the 1970s, the building had fallen into a state of disrepair. Now a renovation project is underway, which aims to preserve almost every historic detail of the UNESCO-protected structure.
The biggest issues with the old building are the distribution systems – particularly the wiring, water and waste. That’s where Mexichem’s Wavin-brand solutions excel. Wavin Ekoplastik – Mexichem’s Fluent Europe Czech subsidiary – is using Wavin SiTech+ and Wavin HT products for the reconstruction efforts. In a building where the acoustics are extremely important, Wavin SiTech+ was the only solution to fulfil the parameters specified for the maximum permitted noise level for drains and rainwater downpipes.
Wavin Ekoplastik was also chosen as the key supplier for water, waste and drainage systems because it could demonstrate a finished solution using BIM.
In the case of the State Opera House of Prague, the entire building was scanned and demolished from the inside in a computer using BIM Revit. Inside the remaining construction, new structures were developed for the hot and cold, and soil and waste piping. Renovation work on the State Opera House of Prague is expected to be completed in 2019.
Astro Tower, Brussels
The 107-meter, 34-storey Astro Tower has been a prominent fixture on the Brussels skyline since 1974, providing the city with 35,000 m² of office space. But when the tower underwent a complete renovation after more than 40 years of service, Moens, the installer of the water supply system, chose Wavin brand products to provide the best solutions for drainage and hot & cold water supply in a limited space.
Moens Project Manager Bart De Regge says that because the water supply also feeds the fire prevention system, pipes needed to provide high pressure water to reach the highest floors. Wavin was the only supplier that could guarantee 15 bars of pressure of at the supply lines. “Other manufacturers could not exceed 10 bars. With Wavin Tigris, we still reach 4 bar on the 34th floor,” De Regge adds.
Wavin HepVo traps were used for the kitchen on each floor as they are waterless, much smaller than traditional traps, and can be installed horizontally as well as vertically.
“By opting for the siphonic system rainwater system from Wavin’s QuickStream, we were able to install pipes with a diameter of 110 mm. With the traditional system, you can easily reach 200 or even 250 mm; that is why Wavin system was equivalent to saving space and money.” – Bart de Regge, Moens Project Manager
Wavin QuickStream was used for drainage on the roof. Smaller pipe dimensions, fewer roof outlets and downpipes, and shorter total pipe lengths all served to reduce installation costs and save space – all important considerations that helped turn Astro Tower into one of the most modern and efficient buildings in Belgium.
Queens Court Student Accommodation, Reading
In the city center of Reading, UK, the former offices of the Yellow Pages directory have been completely renovated and redesigned into extensive student accommodation including 284 modern apartments that house 400 students.
But office buildings and apartment complexes have radically different plumbing needs, and with so many individual living areas and bathrooms, space was at a premium and noise reduction was an important consideration.
While HDPE and cast iron were considered for soil and waste drainage, Mexichem engineers designed a system that delivers durability, ease of installation and low noise, using space-saving Wavin Osma Compact Soil and Waste and Wavin AS Acoustic Soil.
Wavin AS is made of a minerally reinforced polypropylene, which absorbs both airborne and structure-borne sound, producing less than 30 decibels at a flow of 2 liters per second.
The Wavin Osma Compact Soil and Waste system uses smaller connections and pipes for the efficient removal of waste water in the minimum possible space.
These twin product systems provided the perfect solution for a student complex where a noise-free environment is important, and space is at a premium.
Akademia Park Officium, Budapest
Transforming a 19th-century former military academy into a modern office space built to the highest environmental standards meant choosing an intelligent heating and cooling solution.
The Officium building in Budapest turned a large redundant building into one of the city’s most prestigious mixed-use office spaces – with retail, recreation and public services areas. Developers SCD Group were concerned with making a sustainable solution in adding two glass wings that extend outwards from the original entrance to the academy.
Choosing Wavin Heating & Cooling solutions helped them to meet the highest standards for sustainability, and become Hungary’s first building to receive the BREEAM Excellent classification for sustainable building.
Wavin surface heating and cooling systems provided the contractor with easy and responsive temperature control with minimum environmental impact, while eliminating the need for surface-mounted heating and cooling devices. This maximized available space and ensured that the high aesthetic standards of the building were respected.
Ekaterinburg Arena, Yekaterinburg
The easternmost stadium to host matches at the 2018 Fifa World Cup was also the most striking. Ekaterinburg Arena underwent a complete renovation to comply with Fifa’s strict World Cup hosting standards. The unique design preserved the stadium’s original facades, while adding extra seating and a striking doughnut-shaped roof.
But an inward slanting roof required a unique drainage system that would quickly and effectively drain a large area. To achieve this engineering feat, contractors used a Wavin Quickstream solution, which allowed for new technologies and infrastructure to combine perfectly without compromising the historic aspects of the stadium.
With such a wide range of innovative water-management solutions for new and renovated buildings, it’s not surprising more builders are turning to Wavin brand systems.