Carroll Street Silo House

Project Manager/Designer: Tamar Kisilevitz

Completion Date: 2001

Location: Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn


The design concept started from the analysis of the lifestyles of the two occupants; one welcomes people from the outside, but needs privacy once they are inside and the other is self-contained, but seeks stimulation from external sources. Inspiration was drawn from the inherent beauty and simplicity of the 6-inch thick exposed concrete walls, and the proximity to the canal and the Carroll Street Bridge as emotive elements, tying the project into a non-conventional landscape. The ultimate use of the space dictated varied treatments to the two silos; for the smaller one, partitions are removed from the perimeter to form a central service core, with the main spaces open to each other around the space. As the tanks were previously topless, a flat roof was built over the small silo that would provide a roof terrace for the writer’s studio, and a cylindrical sloping roof was built for the large silo with an elaborate ventilation system and wedge-shaped operable skylights that create a continuous flood of light overhead. Wooden rafters radiating from the centre outward provide the structure for the new roof. Prior to any construction, the silos were de-contaminated; thus, the structures were retained without having to provide additional exterior or interior coatings. Throughout the revamping of the once unused oil tanks, this project presents a successful new approach toward preservation of structures that might have otherwise been lost through unnecessary demolition.