Apartment on the top of a grain silo

Apartment on the top of a grain silo
Address: Polská 7, Olomouc, Czech Republic
Investor:Barbora a Radim Králíkovi
Area:320 m2
Built Up Area:260 m2
Built Up Space:6500 m3

I d e a s

The silo renovation for an entirely new function which is not intended for this type of object (does it mean this function is wrong?) - this is how the topic of this project can be phrased. However, what does it really mean when we talk about a wrong function in architecture? Is it not so that the adaptation of a function usually results from a predetermined way of thinking about things? Who has the right to decide about the way of grasping what is right and what is wrong? The problem is that there is a vast continuum of the unknown between the right and the wrong and this unknown space is often excluded from thinking only because it is easier not to probe it. (This way of thinking and evaluation further develops into a mechanism of hierarchy determination.) Everywhere, we encounter such infringements of rules which very often fulfil their function surprisingly well. . . however, this cannot change our conviction that rules are necessary and its infringements are wrong. Nonetheless, decision-making in architecture always means one choice over many possibilities. In other words: decision-making is an act of violence (as leaving out other possibilities is also violent). The awareness towards this should make us suspect things around us. Unfortunately, because of fear of "the uncertain" or conformism, we often choose a different strategy - the strategy to forget and camouflage. Immediately after the decision has been made, a process of forgetting other possibilities which were equally plausible begins and such possibilities are rejected as wrong. The process of building a huge structure of explanation and defending the final decision starts: the process of camouflage. The purpose of camouflage is to present the final decision as "the only possibility". The consequence of such internal "persuasive campaign" is that we no longer think about how different things might have been and that there was a moment before the final decision - the decision-less moment when everything was possible. The mentioned problem is most obvious in situations where we encounter a change from some external causes apart from architecture. The change that not only happens but also necessitate reaction from us, architects. Then, the principle of "the only possibility" is often obstructed by the status quo. . . since the change might show that other possibilities are also vital and justified. This was precisely our situation when designing the Silo renovation. The new function - residential house - necessitated infringements into the existing object. Our design was elaborated with sensitive respect to the above-mentioned comments since the very beginning. These had no direct influence on projecting work - architectural practice should not become the representation of a theory. It is rather concerned with sensitivity and constant open-mindedness to a change. Using the lift that broke the perspective, we proposed a functional design of a house consisting of separate spaces which are connected in a "non-perspective" fashion (that is, we separated the relationship between time and space.) The passage from one space to another is limited (by means of the lift) into opening and closing the same lift door. These spaces can be described as: entrance space, garden, residential space and "a box" (private space - bedroom). Each of the spaces is designed differently and the differences between them are more important than the characteristics of these spaces per se.

f r a g m e n t s

Entrance space
The entrance space is designed to be located in the ground floor of the extension. The light wooden floor and wooden roof were removed which resulted in a new internal/external atrium-type space. The main entrance to the Silo building is located here. The space is defined by high walls, reaching up to 14 meters. A garden with potted trees hung in the air is designed to be located above the entrance space in the height of +10.11 meters. The atrium floor will be raised up to +0.50 meters and the atrium area and surrounding constructions will be supplemented with the design of a "landscape" fragment, made by reinforced surfaces, natural and industrial elements. The guest rooms match the design of the entrance space. The guest rooms are designed as a separate section with an entrance, vestibule, restroom and kitchen. This unit can also serve a different function: gatehouse, student's apartment, office. . . The entrance space is directly linked with a communication hall with an evacuation stairway and lift. The hall is further connected with a storage area in the north ground-floor section of the Silo main building.

In the south part of the main Silo building, an empty space with unmodified industrial character is left untouched. In this unheated space, visible concrete feeding chutes and technology parts also remain untouched. The series of transit units can be used for a private gallery that will be accessible from the entrance atrium.


The above-mentioned garden is designed on the level of +10.11 meters. A grass terrace is designed on the existing reinforced concrete ceiling in the north section and is accessible directly from the communication node (lift and emergency stairway). Potted trees and bushes hung in the air are designed in the remaining larger section. An external Jacuzzi is designed in one of the pots. The space between the pots is designed partially in the form of a technical grid intended for maintenance purposes. The remaining part will open downwards (with the viewpoint into the entrance space).

Residential space
The residential section of the object is designed to be located on the top floors. The day section with a lift shaft, interior stairway, main hall, cloakroom, toilet, kitchen with a larder, dining room and main residential space is designed on the level of the existing technological floor (+24.26 meters). After tearing down the existing ceilings of "aisles" and designing new ceilings on the levels +28,83 a +29,13, a new prestige and airy residential space with clear height 457-487 cm with an inserted mezzanine in the middle section; a "view room" (with a sofa) is designed to be located here on the level of +26,96 meters and a study on the level +26,66 meters. There are a look-out terrace and conservatory in the mezzanine in the "aisles". A new terrace with an external stairway is designed on the level +24.43 in the southwest section. The architectural character of this space is based on the existing industrial character of the building which is perceived as a valuable historical phenomenon; and therefore, it should be further perceived in its new functional usage. All new construction elements are considered to be supplementary and "subordinate". These elements will be predominantly made of steel and partially of reinforced concrete. New external walls are designed to be of sandwich structure. The formal differentiation between the existing and newly designed constructions should both show the time differentiation of individual elements and also help with the identification of the previous (existing) object matter which will be visible both from inside and outside thanks to large glass panels. The strategy of differentiation is in accord with the idea of not obscuring historical changes which constitute the inherent part of any building. Buildings which are not only finished construction but also "a story" in which the influencing changes are visible. As in any historical town where we encounter both gothic buildings or their parts and also Renaissance, Baroque. . . modern and contemporary architecture. . .

The private section of the apartment is located in the top part. It is designed in the form of a new "box", set asymmetrically on the existing object of the Silo. The box with external dimensions of 1855x827x560 cm is intended to be a separate unit, enclosed in a tactful and pure form. All technical elements (chimneys, lift shaft, antennas, etc.) can be concealed in attic walls so that they are not visible from outside. The box follows the height of the existing lamp which is a part of the newly designed interior. The floor level is on +29,53 meters. In the east corner, a guest room is separated from the private part of the floor by the designed lift shaft and interior stairway. The private part consists of parents' bedroom with a bathroom, duplex children's rooms, a separate bathroom and a workroom with an access to a technical balcony which can be used as a drying space. The important element was the existing lamp with the grid floor which enables the transparent vertical connection with the residential space located below (unfortunetly teh project was changed in this part - the lamp was demolished, the grid floor was replaced by concrete one). A grass terrace is adjacent to parents' bedroom from the west.

The last space (fragment) of the building are the empty Silo cells. The space is empty between the levels +4.15 do +23.99 (approximately 20 m) - there is only a designed emergency stairway and lift in the south part.
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Jednim slovem : Parada
20.09.07 08:06
22.09.07 12:39
Konečně - ať žije Holomoooc !!!
23.09.07 07:33
24.09.07 07:45
Michal Just
24.09.07 11:17
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