It sounds like the plot of a dystopian novel: humanity, crushed by the weight of overpopulation or fleeing the fallout of a nuclear disaster, is forced to take up residence in unexpected places like subway tunnels and silos.
Except there’s nothing dystopian about this stylish silo home, the work of architect Christoph Kaiser.
Located in Phoenix, Arizona, the round residence is a converted corrugated steel-wall grain silo from 1955. Kaiser spotted the silo online, purchased it, disassembled it, then transported it via truck to Phoenix before creating his dream home.
Getting it there was only part of the challenge. With just 340 square feet of livable space and a cylindrical shape, the silo presented a unique set of challenges. At the top of Kaiser’s list was creating a sense of ‘home’ within a shape and size that many would consider anything but ‘home-y’.
He set out to transform traditional notions of a residential dwelling by focusing on spaciousness and simplicity. Both were achieved by accommodating all functions for living in a two-storey walnut and black steel crescent that hugs the silo’s southern perimeter. This ingenious approach maximises construction efficiency, usable floor space, and the perceived spatial volume of the interior.
The silo home also features subterranean air ducts that mitigate mechanical noise from the air conditioning system, and that work in conjunction with an operable skylight at the top of the silo to deliver passive cooling.
Social areas – the kitchen and living space – make up the ground floor. The sleeping area is found upstairs, reached by a space-efficient spiral staircase made of wood and steel. Almost everything inside – short of two Eames chairs – was custom made to accommodate the structure’s unusual shape.
Outside, sliding doors open onto a garden space and patio that wraps around the silo, mimicking its curves.
Our verdict on the silo home? What it lacks in size it more than makes up for in creativity, cosiness, and industrial charm, and if dystopia looked like this, it wouldn’t be half bad.