Once, they held grain, missiles or even sewage. But these 14 silos were transformed into incredibly creative adaptive reuse projects, transcending their utilitarian identities to present us with modern high-rise apartment buildings, eco-friendly homes, unusual restaurants and irresistible bed-and-breakfasts.
MVRDV Gemini Residence, Copenhagen
(images via: arcspace)
Leave it to architecture firm MVRDV to turn two eyesores on Copenhagen’s waterfront into stunning residential towers that are even cooler looking once you step inside. The two silos were left intact as ‘twin cores’, with the actual apartments basically acting as a facade. Inside each ‘core’ is staircases, elevators and common space for residents including terraces.
Silo Eco-Home, Greensburg, Kansas
(image via: natural home magazine)
Greensburg, Kansas is so named because it aims to become one of the first green towns in the United States. If it keeps building homes like this one, which has a reclaimed silo as its main component, the town will certainly be off to a great start. The roof of the Silo Eco-Home will be planted with vegetables and herbs, serving as “a model for small-scale sustainable food production.”
Gruene Homestead Inn, Texas
(images via: gruenhomesteadinn.com)
As the Gruene Homestead Inn demonstrates, all you need to do to make an old silo look like a cute place to vacation is add a front porch. Oh, sure, there’s more to it than that – things like drywall and plumbing – but in this application, the silo retains its charm and character. The interior has been artfully arranged to fit plenty of function inside including a kitchen, curving stairway, loft bedroom and a full-sized bathroom.
Monte Silo House, Woodland, Utah
(images via: archicentral)
On the more modern end of the spectrum is the Monte-Silo House in Woodland, Utah, a conversion project proving that silos can be stylish. The house is in fact made up of two corrugated steel silos, connected by a hallway, and the layout of the home takes full advantage of the round shape, even building capsule-like guest beds for kids into the walls. The smaller silo houses the bathroom.
Silo Student Dorms, Norway
(image via: marcus ramberg)
Once a grain silo in the middle of an industrial area, the Grünerløkka student housing complex is now an eye-catching structure with 226 residential units on 16 floors, sitting on national park land. The architects wanted to keep the original structure intact in both form and material as much as possible, contrasting the concrete of the silos with brightly colored glass.
Cold War Missile Silo Home, New York
(images via: silohome.com)
Nestled into the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York is ‘Silohome’, which the owners call “the finest retrofit of a missile site accomplished to date.” Perhaps they’re a bit biased, but the home is definitely a sight to behold with an ordinary-looking house topping two finished and furnished underground levels. Amazingly, while the home itself takes up 2,300 square feet, there’s still 20,000 square feet untouched, and it goes down… and down.. and down.
Wheat Silo Apartments, Bunbury, Australia
(image via: wikimedia commons)
Built in 1937 and used for decades to store wheat, the silos that were long an icon of Bunbury, Australia got a new life in 1994 as a luxury high-rise apartment complex packed with a swimming pool, heated spa and lounge area.
Coal Silo Restaurant, New York
(image via: moreofme24)
Silo Restaurant in Lewiston, New York is a converted coal silo perched on the edge of the Niagara River. The massive concrete silo gained this prime location – with a beautiful view that was once wasted – because the coal that it held was used to power the Great Gorge Railway. In the early 20th century, the Lewiston waterfront was bustling with tourists, but by the ’30s a superhighway diverted traffic and pollution in the river damaged tourism. The silo was rescued in 1997 and transformed into a restaurant where patrons can sit on the circular deck and gaze out at the water.
From a Silo to a High Rise in Denmark
(images via: inhabitat)
Most converted silo projects are obvious, considering the tell-tale cylindrical shape that is usually retained by the finished buildings. But for this rural ‘high-rise’ in Denmark, the origin of the structure is disguised within a blocky facade. The silo acts as a ‘service core’ for the apartments – it includes an elevator in the center, and supports a roof terrace.
Subterra Castle in Kansas
(images via: subterracastle.com)
Subterra Castle in Kansas was made from a silo of a different sort – a missile silo, to be exact. A small cabin marks the entrance to the underground home, and castle turrets sticking up out of the grass are actually escape hatches. Owner Ed Peden equates his home to the medieval castles of Europe, where much of the most-used spaces are beneath the surface.
Rustic DIY Eco Retreat, Missouri
(image via: dancing rabbit)
Interested in building your own DIY silo house? This ‘grain bin house’ at the Dancing Rabbit eco commune in Missouri was constructed with a lot of hard work but very little cash. The owners lined the inside of the bins with plastered straw bales for insulation and created a second floor, turning the silo into two one-room apartments.
Abbey Road Farm Bed and Breakfast, Oregon
(images via: abbeyroadfarm.com)
Three silos make up the bulk of one of the most unique sustainable structures in Oregon. The Abbey Road Farm Bed and Breakfast, located on an 82-acre working farm and winery, lets guests sleep in these ‘Silo Suites’, which look out onto the fields. “The most intriguing people end up here,” says owner John Stuart. “You’ve got to be a little courageous to want to sleep in a grain silo.”
Silo Converted to a Castle, Canada
(image via: panaramio)
Castles aren’t exactly a common sight in Canada, but even less common are castles made from old silos. Not much is known about this structure, found in the countryside of Ontario, but the image is intriguing, giving the impression of a centuries-old homestead.
NL Architects Silo Sports Complex Concept, Amsterdam
(images via: archicentral)
We’ve seen grain silos, missile silos and coal silos – but what about sewage treatment silos? Yes, those, too are being converted for new uses. Two such towers in the Zeeburg district of Amsterdam were the subject of a contest in 2009 to give the structures a new, more positive identity. NL Architects came up with this concept, turning the silos into a recreational complex for sports and culture.