Cylinders, Circles & Silos

January 17, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

First time, something new. Learn a new skill, find a talent you did not know you had, try a new experience.  This adds so much richness to life. What I love about our jobs here at HC is that we can do so many new and unique things- many of which we have never done before.  A few years ago, we crafted a curved pergola which we lovingly called the “Starship Enterprise” with steel and wood. Last year we designed and built a new lake house. It was fitted with a three-stop elevator AND a bridge from the garage to our client’s house! This year we are excited about a project we are working on; it’s something unique that we have never had the opportunity to do. This beautiful new home we are building features what we are calling a “silo.” I suppose a more sophisticated term would be “rotunda” but we like calling it a silo.   

Tower silos have been recognized as the mark of a traditional farmstead. They were once the symbol of a prosperous dairy industry. You would think silos have been around for a long time, but they have only been around for a little over 120 years.

In 1882 there were about ninety-one silos in the United States. They caught on and became wildly popular and by the year 1895 there were over 50,000 across the country. Today we see less and less silos.

Originally round silos were built using wood. The most common was the wood stave silo. Stave silos are comprised of long planks placed upright within the foundation.

This construction worked best when the silos were full, but they would collapse when empty. Another way silos were built was using a tongue-and-groove joint system…cool!

Okay, so right about now I know you are asking, “Why would you want a silo attached to a home?”  Ahhh… the answer… this feature does a lot of cool things for the architecture. It adds an interesting focal point from the exterior since it is circular and will be completely made of stone.  But maybe more importantly, it provides a great transition from the primary bedroom wing of the home to the main living space. This home has many angles, and the silo provides a “joint” so to speak, making it a cool transition from the interior spaces.  It also provides a “tree house” office space in the upper portion providing a stunning view the beautiful setting.  Sorry… no cows, no grain storage here. Only clean, stunning, exclusive space.

When constructing our silo, we poured a giant 10-inch footing that was reinforced with rebar to give it strength. Next, we built the silo walls with cement blocks. Our talented mason used regular hollow-core blocks that were cut so the circle of the silo could be created. Once the block was made, we poured concrete into the wall




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