House in a Can

[Image: A future site for Austin + Mergold’s House-In-A-Can].

Architects Austin + Mergold have a proposal for how to reuse agricultural silos and other circular structures of the U.S. farm belt: it’s what they call A-House-In-A-Can.

Pitched for a farm in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, the project comes complete with a faux-Craiglist hard sell: “36-foot in diameter American grain dryer with 2000 SF single family starter home inside. Instantly assembled off-the-shelf 14 GA galvanized corrugated steel exterior a 2000 SF developer house inside. Optional greenhouse. Buy 5 get one free!!!”

The images are all you really need to see how it would work: an internal shell is slipped inside the grain silo, services are established shortly thereafter, and the client can then schedule a move-in date. In some ways, I’m reminded of Zecc Architecten’s project for a converted water tower in Holland, or even Piercy Conner’s Martello Tower Y renovation.

[Images: A-House-In-A-Can by Austin + Mergold].

And while these study-models could use a bit more detail, in concept, they’re both delightfully absurd and inspiring.

[Images: A-House-In-A-Can by Austin + Mergold].

A thesis presentation performed as a series of metal cans extruded outward into models of inhabitable architecture… Cinema-In-A-Can. Library-In-A-Can. Gym-In-A-Can. Dome-In-A-Can Republic.

(Perviously: Austin + Mergold’s Fortifications Tour).

9 thoughts on “House in a Can”

  1. When I was a kid my uncle converted a grain silo into a summer home. There was a circular staircase in the middle to reach the first four floors, and then an attic ladder could be pulled down to reveal the true genius of the place: a telescope was mounted in the top hemisphere, which rotated around like an observatory.

  2. No explanation of why anyone might want/need to do that?

    Is it supposed to be cheaper than a traditional building? Hide housing developments in rural areas that aren't zoned for them? Make use of some overabundance of unused agricultural buildings? If the latter, is there any evidence that overabundance actually exists anywhere? Why would homes be needed in a rural area where farm based local economy has collapsed to the point that there is an overabundance of unused farm buildings?

  3. Kevin, please post some photos of your uncle's house, I'd be really interested to see what it looks like. Growing up in rural Missouri and Kansas I was enamored with the presence and potential these decaying structures have.

    Two of my mixed media paintings inspired by my childhood fascinations:

    My brother and I are currently storyboarding and site-scouting for a film that revolves around an "off-the-grid" community living in such retro-fitted agrarian structures. Again, Kevin, it would be great to see any photos you may have.


  4. Interesting, it's quite a pragmatic, hands on approach compared to the dutch projects, but that's the beauty of it I think, you would still be very much aware that you're living inside an old silo.

    Somehow these round structures are very appealing to transform into housing, maybe because circular shaped house are quite rare?

    Two projects came to my mind when I saw this, another water tower in Delft, converted into a meditation center by Rocha Tombal. Which turned out great, such a quiet space, it is perfect for meditation.

    Another project in Amsterdam as well, Dick van Gameren converted an old sewage treatment plant into appartments, Some of the appartments are actually inside the massive concrete sediment reservoir.

    It's good to see more of these transformation projects, re-using deserted industrial buildings, instead of destroying them. Moreover, the resulting architecture is much more interesting than your average neighboorhood.

  5. This remembers me something a guy told me when i went to Copenhagen.
    He said that the local beer company (Carlsberg) has a hug silo where they stored the beer in the past but now that the city has gone bigger they have moved the factory outside of the city so that the silo wasn't used anymore… so they transformed it in a condo in the same way you created the paper house in the tincan 🙂

    Not sure he was kidding or this is true.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.