Extreme conversion: 17-story industrial silo to be converted to high-rise housing

As part of Copenhagen's effort to turn an industrial seaport into a bustling neighborhood, the historic grain silo will be transformed into a modern housing tower.

September 02, 2014 |

A 200-foot-tall, 17-story industrial silo in Copenhagen’s Nordhavnen harbor is the largest and one of the most iconic landmarks of the area, but its function doesn’t match the needs of the district.

In 2013, By og Havn, a port development enterprise jointly owned by the city of Copenhagen and the Danish government, took the lead to transform Nordhavnen into a bustling, commercial area planned to bring tens of thousands of apartments and jobs.

Part of the transformation would involve the iconic silo’s conversion into a residential tower. Danish firm COBE Architects was brought in to execute the project, according to a report by Inhabitat.

To soften the industrial and highly utilitarian design of the original structure—which was used to store corn and grains for decades—COBE will envelope the original concrete structure with layers of different-sized white balconies. 


The building’s interior will preserve the mostly exposed concrete of the original structure.


The silo as it exists today. Photo courtesy COBE Architects

Rendering of the planned conversion. Rendering courtesy COBE Architects


Because of the building’s original function and demand for different-sized spaces for storage, the new residential building will feature a variety of apartment configurations and sizes.

The waterfront development includes a United Nations campus called UN City that opened in 2013 at the eastern part of the Nordhavnen area.

According to Danish engineering website Ingeniøren, the Nordhavnen project uses 28,000 tons of steel, making it the largest construction job in Denmark and the largest consumer of steel in Northern Europe.

For more information and renderings, checkout the slideshow at cobe.dk.

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