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concre(A)te synergies

Originally used as storage infrastructure for agricultural byproduct, these silos have been left unused for multiple years.  With this relic being positioned prominently in the middle of Omaha along the major artery that moves through the state of Nebraska, it is prime for instigating dialogue about the issues affecting us all both locally and globally.

We were interested in encouraging a dialogue about the possible reuse of agricultural and industrial relics such as these, and the catalytic change that urban infill can generate.  This proposal seeks to celebrate the silo’s history, and to encourage a rejuvenation of the edifice to support contemporary lifestyles.  In the interest of legibility, readily recognizable symbols were used as a means to communicate the new function, and the clarity of the additive and subtractive layers employed.  Additive elements such as stairs, planters and shutters are juxtaposed against the subtractive elements of window voids penetrating into the massive cylindrical volume contained within.  This legibility is assisted by communicating scale through repetitive elements suggesting floor levels and scale of internal space.

A technique of photo montage was used to, again, create clarity and association with the proposal.  Static building elements which are the vehicles for the activity of life, such as the stairs, were left grey tone to bring cohesion between them all.  Components of the graphic which were living, such as the people, plants and side of the shutters facing the interior life, were purposefully saturated with color.  Together this conveys the potential synergy that can be created through the unique association between existing context and a new injected use type.

The relationship between the original use of agricultural product storage and the adjacent urban life was manifest through the reuse of existing grain movement equipment, repurposed for making parasitic planters which find themselves precariously positioned along the silo.  These planters position themselves as is they are only there for a short time, and that potentially tomorrow they may be above, below, or on an adjacent silo.

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