Silo Folly at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

Photo Credit © Chuck Swartz

Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C.
Winchester, VA 

A remnant of an old working farm, this silo is now a meaningful feature at the site of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Built in 1962, the abandoned silo was revived as a new art folly, an extension of the existing garden follies within the Museum’s formal gardens.

Photo Credit © Chuck Swartz

The silo’s original roof dome was removed and replaced with a new dome with an oculus, to permit natural light to enter into the space. The exterior circular steel tension bands were removed and replaced, and two new doors with structural steel frames were cut into the base. The interior was stripped of debris & obsolete equipment and then plastered in white. A new concrete floor slab with integral, semi-circular seating was poured. The interior of the silo now houses a kinetic metal sculpture by artist Andrew White, engineer Brett Phillips, and Dr. Jack McAllister, entitled “Silo Skyline.”

The main museum galleries building, completed in 2005, was designed by Michael Graves. However, due to initial budget restraints, the main road to the museum was built to the side of the museum, as opposed to the axial approach to the front, as envisioned by Graves.

Photo Credit © Chuck Swartz

In 2013, our firm designed a master plan for the Museum campus which included a new entry road to the museum, axial to the Museum’s formal front façade, as it was originally intended. This new approach made the abandoned, obsolete silo significant once again, both as an entry sentinel and an important vestige of the land’s former agrarian life.

The silo now serves as an art piece in the landscape, as well as a canvas and vessel for art.

Visit the Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C. website.

Published: 04/24/2024
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