Keep Silos, Dovecotes, Pigeonniers and Think About the Possibilities

When we bought our land, one of the questions that was frequently asked was: are we demolishing the silos that stood upon our acreage. You see, our property was at one time farmland, so with it came an old, dilapidated barn, crumbled milking sheds and, my favorite of the structures, the silos.

For aesthetics, the prevailing sentiment was that we should take all these structures down, but I loved these structures and think too often things are stripped bare – the very things that give character. So they were staying and there was no talking me out of it.

Through the trees, they look like the turrets of a fairy tale castle – or at least that what I think – as the tan concrete has a perfect patina. I’ve frequently daydreamed of the possibilities: joining them with a guest house in between, having them independent structures, etc.

There are so many abandoned silos. Structures similar to silos but are actually huge pigeon houses, called dovecotes or pigeonniers, are now frequently left to the ravages of nature. At one time, they were part of noble estates for the dove eggs, pigeon meat and sending messages.

A structure like this:

can be used and worked into a house design.

This is a new construction guest house that was designed to look like a converted dovecote.


Beautifully restored to its original grandeur.

An old abandoned silo

A silo fitted with a glass dome (ingenious) and incorporated into a home to house a spiral staircase.

In Barcelona, Spain a cement factory was converted into the home and workspace of Ricardo Bofill in 1975.

I’ve never regretted the decision to keep our structures intact and was deeply saddened when a snowstorm dumped 3 feet of snow and the weight of it flattened our barn. There are beautiful beams and planks that I may salvage from it or just rebuild it altogether. But the silos remain. Hopefully, I will do something with them at some point, but even as is, I adore them 🙂

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