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Italcementi convenes concrete cognoscenti

A research and development facility for the parent company of Essroc Cement Corp. serves as a product showcase for cast-in-place or precast concrete bearing TX Active, a photocatalytic cement that imparts self-cleaning properties in finished slabs and structures. Beyond technical and promotion functions, Italcementi Group has positioned its i.lab Research and Innovation Centre in Bergamo, Italy, as a new meeting venue for Europe’s architectural/engineering/ construction elite.

Dedicated in mid-2012, i.lab is oriented around five main strategic axes. Clinker and cement research will focus on the use of renewable and reusable raw materials, plus development of specialty concrete admixtures. i.lab staff will conduct experiments based on nano and biotechnologies applied to the construction materials sector, and extend Italcementi’s portfolio of processes or materials adding technological and functional value to traditional cement-based products. Researchers will also target special concretes; repair and structural- strengthening mortars; and, technical solutions aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from construction materials production.

With three levels, including parking at the base, the 235,000-sq.-ft. i.lab has accommodations for gatherings where international architects and project designers foster a culture of people- and environment-minded construction. To that end, Italcementi enlisted high-profile architect Richard Meier, who characterizes i.lab as “a building which symbolizes Italcementi’s experience [and] a point of reference for sustainable architecture in Europe.”   — Prepared by CP staff from information provided by Italcementi Group SpA, Bergamo, Italy, and Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP, New York City