BEING ACCUSED OF HAVING A ‘SILO MENTALITY’ IS NO LONGER A BAD THING THANKS TO DANISH INGENUITY
BY Zoe Phoon
Denmark may be small in population size (5.75 million people) but it’s certainly big on creativity, innovation and adaptive reuse.
Danish architects are internationally acclaimed and Danish design has also gained international respect, the most famous probably being Jorn Utzon who designed Australia’s Sydney Opera House.
The Silo apartment building, which is a repurposed grain silo in Copenhagen, has been completed, according to Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
Danish studio COBE has finished converting the former grain silo into an 18-storey highrise with 38 unique residential units ranging from 1,100sq ft to 4,300sq ft.
The Silo is located in the Danish capital’s Nordhavn area which is being converted into a new city district that retains some of the original industrial structure.
COBE is involved in masterplanning this project which will see up to 43 million square feet of the post-industrial harbour area developed over the next 40-50 years.
The former silo in Nordhavn is the largest of the area’s industrial buildings and offered an opportunity to accommodate apartments and public facilities including a restaurant on its upper floor and an events space at ground level.
How COBE did it
The process of transforming the concrete silo into apartments required the openings to be carved into the solid concrete facades, creating space for windows and balconies that wrap around all four sides.
A new layer of galvanised steel cladding brought the facades up to contemporary standards while maintaining the building’s overall tall, slender shape.
The perforated steel also helps to protect the balconies and interiors from direct sunlight and wind.
Inside the building, the architects retained the silo’s existing character wherever possible.
The vast interior spaces allow various apartment configurations.
The 38 units range from single storey apartments to penthouses arranged over two floors. Full-height windows provide views of the coastline.
The building’s existing concrete structure is exposed and left bare in several apartments, enhancing the rugged industrial feel of the spaces.
On the roof is a mirrored glazed box that houses a restaurant. Its surfaces reflect the sky during the day and allow light to permeate like a lantern at night.