Waterfront properties are in high demand as developers look for attractive locations in which to create new residences and office buildings. MVRDV transformed the Frøsilos, twin silos on the Islands Brygge waterfront in Copenhagen, into the Gemini Residences. The adaptive reuse project required a unique solution to make the most of the concrete towers - the apartments are attached to the exterior to maximize light and views, while the interior holds an open lobby that is lit from above through skylights.
Originally built in 1963, the Frøsilos seed silos were once part of the Soya Bean Cake Factory on the Port of Copenhagen. The plant closed in the 1990s and the area was slated for redevelopment into residential and office buildings. Construction on the silo conversion began in 2002 and was completed in 2005. MVRDV created the unique design and made the most out of the structural limitations of the concrete silos. Cutting holes into the silo walls allowed only a minimum number of windows and directed the homes inward rather than outward. The limited lighting coupled with the inability to cut more than a few man-sized doors caused MVRDV to think outside of the box, or silo in this case.
The new plan for the Gemini Residences called for attaching the apartments to the outside of the silo, which opened them up to daylighting and views. Apartments wrap around the exterior and enjoy private balconies and floor to ceiling glass walls shaded by the balcony above them. Access to the apartments is gained via one of the central lobby cores, which were used to house utilities, stairwells and elevators. A translucent membrane covers each silo to fill the core with daylighting. The bottom of each silo was left bare to reveal the original silo and remind passersby of its original purpose.