Rural rebirth

Thursday 29 Apr 2010

A recycled farm silo in Demark aims to transform community

How to reuse former industrial sites is a familiar planning problem to many urban cities. But for the bucolic rural towns, what about unused vacant silos? This quandary has arisen in many towns in Denmark that have centrally located industrial silos, most of which are no longer in use, but continue to fill the skyline.

C. F. Møller Architects in collaboration with Christian Carlsen Arkitektfirma, found a solution to the client's, Løgten Midt A/S ,silo problem in the Danish town of Løgten north of Aarhus, where the former silo complex has been transformed into a rural 3,000-square-metre high-rise. Instead of storing grain or other agriculture products, the Sil(o)houette features with 21 residences composed as individual and unique stacked villas, according to the architect.

Rather than contribute to suburb sprawl, with small houses filing in the farmlands or the standard apartment towers, these new residences are a mix of single-storey flats and maisonettes, so that even the lower levels have views of the countryside and no two flats are the same.

The actual silo contains staircases and lifts, and provides the base of a common roof terrace. Around the tower, the apartments are built upon a steel structure in distinct forms that protrude out into the light and the landscape – a bit like Lego blocks or the game Jenga.

This unusual structure with its protrusions and displacements also offers outdoor spaces, and views of Aarhus Bay and the city. Similarly, every apartment will be filled with natural light whether placed to the north or south of the silo structure.

At the foot of the silo, is a new 1,500-square-metre village centre, with a public space surrounded by a mixed-use complex with shops, a supermarket and terraced housing, and a park containing small allotments for the residents.

The unique nature of the rural high rise- as a converted silo – will mean that no other building in the area can be erected to the same height. By creating a distinct presence among the farmland and other residences, the rural high rise is an example how architects can transform an obsolete or outdated into a more modern one that can forge a new identity for a community while introducing more density in a more sensitive manner.

The body of the silo is deliberately left visible on the side of the building facing the new centre, the architect said, to acknowledge the history of the site and that these types of structures are as much rural historical markers as the church bell-tower or windmills.

Jennifer Potash
News Editor

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Interior Residential

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