3-Jul-2017 From storage container to urban focal point - Construction of The Silo completed in Copenhagen As the centrepiece of Copenhagen’s redeveloped Nordhavn (North Harbour), Danish architects COBE and clients Klaus Kastbjerg and NRE Denmark unveil the completed transformation of The Silo. The former industrial silo was originally used as a storage container for grain. Fifty years later, the 17-storey silo has been converted for new use as a residential apartment building with 38 unique units, ranging from 106 m2 to 401 m2 in size, and with public functions such as event and dining facilities on the upper and lower levels.
The Silo is part of the transformation of Copenhagen’s Nordhavn (North Harbour) – a vast postindustrial development, currently being transformed into a new city district. Designed by Danish architects COBE with clients Klaus Kastbjerg and NRE Denmark, a 17-storey former grain silo and the largest industrial building in the area has been transformed into “The Silo”, housing residential apartments and public functions.
Inside-out transformation In order to bring The Silo’s industrial concrete facade up to current standards, the exterior of the existing silo has been reclad, while the interior has been preserved as raw and untouched as possible. An angular faceted exterior facade made of galvanized steel has been installed to serve as a climate shield. This has allowed the building’s characteristic slender tall shape to be maintained.
Dan Stubbergaard, Founder and Creative Director of COBE, says: “We wanted to retain the spirit of The Silo as much as possible – both in terms of its monolithic exterior and majestic concrete interior, by simply draping it with a new overcoat. The aim was to transform it from the inside out in such a way that its new inhabitants and the surrounding urban life would highlight the structure’s identity and heritage. Hence, the use of galvanized steel for the facade, which patinates in a raw way and retains the original harbour character and material feel, lending a roughness and raw beauty to the area, as in its industrial past.”
38 unique apartments The spatial variation within the original silo is immense due to the various functions of storing and handling grain, creating space for 38 unique apartments. Single and multi-level apartments range from 106 m2 to 401 m2 in size, with floor heights of up to 7 meters. All apartments have panoramic, floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies, and several have been preserved in raw concrete. The window frames are hidden on the outside of the existing concrete walls, offering expansive views of the city skyline and the Oresund coast.
A mix of private and public functions Both the top and lower levels have public access. The top floor consists of a mirrored glass box housing a public restaurant with a 360-degree view of the city and the sea. The glass facade mirrors the surroundings in the daytime, and at night it is reminiscent of a lantern. The ground floor is designed as a flexible event space.
Dan Stubbergaard says: “Private housing and public functions ensure that the building remains active all day. The public functions at the top and bottom also ensure a multidimensional experience for the various users of the building. From the top you can see almost all of Copenhagen in one panoramic view. It is completely unique, and something all Copenhageners will have the chance to experience. The Silo will be inhabited, but will also be a destination. An urban focal point for the new development at Nordhavn.”
Dan Stubbergaard continues: “By revitalizing our industrial heritage, we discover new potential and highlight historical traces in our cities. They represent a built resource. They represent our history. By doing so, we can transform what many people today perceive as industrial trash into treasure.”
The Silo was completed in May 2017, when its first residents moved in. The remaining residents will move in during the next couple of months, and the restaurant on the top floor is due to open later this year. CPH City & Port Development is currently showing an exhibition on the ground floor of the building on the future development plans for Nordhavn, also created by COBE.
5-Sep-2014 The transformation of Nordhavnen in the Copenhagen Harbor is well under way. Some of the harbor’s old industrial buildings will be preserved in the new neighborhood – among them are the old silos. The tallest one is now being transformed into housing and public functions. Union Holding represented by Klaus Kastbjerg owns the silo and is responsible for the transformation. The project is called “The Silo” and is designed by Danish firm COBE who is also the architects behind the urban development plans for Nordhavnen.
The 62 meters and 17-storey tall transformed silo will become a natural point of orientation in Copenhagen’s new neighborhood. The demands for storage and handling of grain has led to magnificent spatial variation floor by floor. This will result in 40 different apartments, stacked on top of each other within the existing silo structure with floor heights of up to 8 meters and in sizes from 80 m2 up to 800 m2, in either one or two levels. Each apartment has large panoramic windows and balconies with views overlooking the Copenhagen skyline and Oresund. The silo’s original structure will be a visual element in all apartments.
Klaus Kastbjerg says: ”The Silo is a well-known building to many Copenhageners and is an icon in Nordhavnen. Furthermore, the silo is the largest industrial building in Nordhavnen and it has a majestic slenderness. It is a landmark in the industrial landscape – right where Oresund meets Copenhagen. The exciting thing about old industrial property is how to preserve their soul and at the same time use them for something else, when the original use is terminated. With this project we want to maintain the familiar identity of the silo and at the same time renew and transform it into a modern landmark for Nordhavnen”.
Dan Stubbergaard, Founder and Creative Director at COBE, continues: ”The architectural concept for the transformation of The Silo is about using the original potential, and preserve and enhance the distinctive character of the silo. With the transformation, the silo will be wrapped in a new facade that upgrades the former industrial building to current standards. However, the existing interior of the silo will be preserved as much as possible and the raw industrial architecture will be a visible element. So, apart from unique views and ultra-modern apartments, the new inhabitants will also have one of a kind spatiality with historic remnants such as visible concrete columns and walls”.
As a special feature both the ground floor and the top floor of the silo will be used for public purposes such as exhibitions, events, conferences and a restaurant. Dan Stubbergaard elaborates: ”The transformation of the silo consists of two parts: private housing and public functions. These functions together ensure that the building remains active all day, and furthermore, the public functions at the top and bottom ensures a multidimensional experience for the various users of the building. From the top you can see almost all of Copenhagen in one large panorama. It is completely unique and something all Copenhageners will have the possibility to experience. The Silo will be inhabited, but will at the same time also be a destination for all Copenhageners; a kind of urban silo. Thereby we ensure that the silo becomes a kick-starter and a milestone for the future development of Nordhavnen”.
The Silo is expected to be completed at the end of 2016.