Many towns in Denmark have centrally-located industrial silos; most are no longer in use, but continue to visually dominate the local skyline. This is also the case with the town of Løgten north of Aarhus, where the former silo complex has been transformed into a ‘rural high-rise’, with 21 high-quality residences composed as individual and unique ‘stacked villas’. This provides an alternative to standard apartments or detached suburban sprawl, in a mix of single-storey flats and maisonettes, in such a way that even the lower levels fully get to enjoy the views, 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 up upon a steel structure in eye-catching forms which protrude out into the light and the landscape – a bit like Lego bricks. This unusual structure with its protrusions and displacements provides all of the apartments with generous outdoor spaces, and views of Aarhus Bay and the city itself. Similarly, every apartment enjoys sunlight in the morning, mid-day and evening, whether placed to the north or south of the silo structure.
At the foot of the silo, a new ‘village centre’ has been created, with a public space surrounded by a mixed-use complex with shops, a supermarket and terraced housing, and a green park containing small allotments for the residents.
The nature of the silo’s ‘rural high-rise’ remains unique – since it is a conversion, no other building in the area can be built to the same height, and it will remain a free-standing landmark. It is an example of how the transformation of redundant structures can both provide a new identity and introduce density to suburban outskirts.
The body of the silo has been deliberately left visible on the side of the building facing the new centre, to ensure a continued legibility of the history of the site, and to acknowledge that these types of structures have as much validity as rural historical markers as, for example, church bell towers or historic windmills.Location: Løgten, Denmark Architect: C. F. Møller Architects in collaboration with Christian Carlsen Arkitektfirma Client: Løgten Midt A/S
Landscape Architect: C. F. Møller Architects
Size: 3000 m2 (silo conversion housing), 1500 m2 (mixed-use urban centre)
Prizes: Residential of the year WAN Award 2010, Aarhus Municipality Architecture Award 2010 Photos: Julian Weyer, Gert Skaerlund Andersen