From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures

Silos hold a significant place among the remnants of the industrial era, distinguished by both their technological innovations and their iconic presence in urban landscapes. Typically cylindrical and made of reinforced concrete, these structures effectively addressed the demands and challenges of industrialization, providing a robust and economical solution for storage. However, throughout the 20th century, with the advent of new logistics and the relocation of activities from some urban centers to expanding areas, many of these silos were decommissioned.

However, despite their enclosed design appearing to be an obstacle for new uses, recent decades have seen initiatives that embrace and repurpose these structures. These projects integrate silos into the urban environment, emphasizing their significance as part of the local collective memory.

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From Ricardo Bofill's transformation of an old cement factory on the outskirts of Barcelona into an office and residence in 1973 to Heatherwick Studio's creation of the Zeitz MOCAA, the world's largest contemporary African art museum, in Cape Town in 2017, projects that repurpose silos have gained prominence. These initiatives preserve and adapt industrial structures to new contexts. Moreover, repurposing silos instead of demolishing them is a conscious and significant action for conserving energy and reducing construction waste.


Related Article

Utilitarian Creativity: Reinventing and Reading the Silo

Here are 15 projects successfully tackling the challenge of adapting these unique structures to new functions.

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa / Heatherwick Studio

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 7 of 18
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa / Heatherwick Studio / Heatherwick Studio. © Iwan Baan

Gutmann Pellets Silo / Obermoser + partner architekten + Hanno Schlögl

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 5 of 18
Gutmann Pellets Silo / Obermoser + partner architekten + Hanno Schlögl. © David Schreyer

Silo Point / Parameter Inc

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 12 of 18
Silo Point / Parameter Inc. Courtesy of Parameter Inc

Bacalan Block / COSA Colboc Sachet architectures

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 4 of 18
Bacalan Block / COSA Colboc Sachet architectures. © Ivan Mathie

Silo Erlenmatt Renovation / Harry Gugger Studio

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 16 of 18
Silo Erlenmatt Renovation / Harry Gugger Studio. © Lukas Schwabenbauer

Garden Expo Silo Bookstore of Library AVANT-GARDE / China Architecture Design & Research Group

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 17 of 18
Garden Expo Silo Bookstore of Library AVANT-GARDE / China Architecture Design & Research Group. Silos. Image © GEN BEN TANG

Silos 13 / vib architecture

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 11 of 18
Silos 13 / vib architecture © Stéphane Chalmeau

Jellicoe Harbour and Silo Park / Taylor Cullity Lethl​ean, Wraight + Associates

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 9 of 18
Jellicoe Harbour and Silo Park / Taylor Cullity Lethl​ean, Wraight + Associates. © Simon Devitt Photographer

The Factory / Ricardo Bofill

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 10 of 18
The Factory / Ricardo Bofill. © Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

‘Kanaal’ in Wijnegem / Stéphane Beel Architects

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 3 of 18
‘Kanaal’ in Wijnegem / Stéphane Beel Architects. © Jan Liégeois

MKM Museum Küppersmühle Extension / Herzog & de Meuron

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 6 of 18
MKM Museum Küppersmühle Extension / Herzog & de Meuron. © Simon Menges

The Silo / Cobe

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 13 of 18
The Silo / Cobe. © Rasmus Hjortshøj - COAST

Refunctionalization of the Marconetti Ex-Mill / Subsecretaría de Obras de Arquitectura, Gobierno de Santa Fe

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 14 of 18
Refunctionalization of the Marconetti Ex-Mill / Subsecretaría de Obras de Arquitectura, Gobierno de Santa Fe. © Federico Cairoli

University of the Arts Helsinki / JKMM Architects

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 8 of 18
University of the Arts Helsinki / JKMM Architects. © Tuomas Uusheimo

Grand Granary Bookstore of Librairie Avant-Garde / SEU-ARCH Art+Zen Architects

From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures - Image 18 of 18
Grand Granary Bookstore of Librairie Avant-Garde / SEU-ARCH Art+Zen Architects. © Arch-Exist

This article is part of the ArchDaily Topics: Refurbishment, proudly presented by Sto.

Extending the lifespan of buildings reduces cost and environmental impact, avoiding demolition or more substantial interventions in the future. Sto's products for facades, facade refurbishment, crack repair, waterproofing, and concrete restoration systems are used on heritage buildings, adaptive reuse projects, renovations and maintenance of new buildings all over the world. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and architecture projects. We invite you to learn more about our ArchDaily Topics. And, as always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.

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Cite: Ghisleni, Camilla. "From Silos to Iconic Spaces: 15 Projects That Repurpose Industrial Structures" [De silos a espaços icônicos: 15 projetos que reutilizam estruturas fabris] 10 Jul 2024. ArchDaily. (Trans. Simões, Diogo) Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/1018532/from-silos-to-iconic-spaces-15-projects-that-repurpose-industrial-structures> ISSN 0719-8884

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