Former grain silos in Johannesburg’s Newtown are being transformed into affordable student apartments. The circular buildings are a fresh new take on the usual dormitory-style accommodation for Wits and UJ students.

thesilos1The aesthetically beautiful apartments at the Silos
The iconic Premier Milling’s grain silos just off Quinn Street in Newtown are being transformed into trendy student accommodation.

The silos were built in the 1960s to store 35 m of grain in each pipe.

On buying the silos, property development group Citiq said in a statement that the tubular structures would create an appealing alternative to current dormitory-style student accommodation.

According to Paul Lapham, chief executive officer at Citiq, “The demand for quality student accommodation is enormous. We plan to become a meaningful provider of student accommodation.”

He added that the project has helped redefine perceptions around affordable accommodation. The silos will cater for student accommodation near the University of the Witwatersrand and University of Johannesburg campuses.

Construction on the first of the two silos started early 2013 and is expected to be completed later this year.

Citiq’s development division director, Arthur Blake said, “These 10 large 6 m diameter concrete pipes go up 10 floors, and will be converted into trendy circular apartments. The walls are already there, and all that is required are the floors and ceilings and obviously spaces cut for doors and windows.”

thesilos2The derelict Silos before renovations began
“The structure is extremely sound, with 18 cm thick walls, making them more than adequate to bear the weight of the units. One of the pipes will be used as staircase with a lift shaft and a fire escape. Another will be used to create 10 floors for study areas, libraries, lounges, computer rooms and other recreational facilities. Two more silos will house the bathrooms and kitchens for each floor.”

He added that the floors will each house 12 apartments, with a mix of single and double bedrooms, communal kitchens and bathrooms. The space should accommodate some 320 students.

An additional two storeys made from shipping containers will be added to the top of the silos; these will house single bedrooms and recreational areas.

Construction on the second set of silos will start in 2014 and should be completed within that year.

Source: Citiq