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Berlin architect turns silo into spaceship-esque home-as-art

After two years of living in a camper with his young daughter, architect Jan Körbes wanted something better suited to their active lifestyle, so he decided to realize a longtime dream of turning a grain silo into a microhome. With the help of his team at REFUNC, specialists in creative recycling, they bought an old grain bin from a farmer and set to work making it habitable.

Working with a footprint of 4m2 (43 square feet), the group started by adding floors to the space. The final home is 3 stories and includes a climbing wall as sole means of reaching the top floor bedroom. The middle floor includes a kitchen, toilet and shower.

The crew built out the final space of 13m2 with a budget of about $27,000 and lots of recycled items (including floor, ceiling and paneling). The home, an experiment in mobile living (it’s already moved once) dubbed “Silo City“, fills in REFUNC’s portfolio of recycled microarchitecture which includes a mobile shelters made from shrink-wrap, pallets, a retired ski gondola and shipping containers and wind turbine blades.

“This is an example of an object which is industrial which after a certain lifespan is not used any longer,” explains Körbes. “And this is when we come in. So we analyze objects which could become microarchitecture, for example this grain silo it’s actually a perfect size for a mini, mini, mini house.“

  • Photo credits: Ishka Michocka, Christian van der Kooij, Jan Körbes