Sydney’s inner west ‘exploding wheat’ silo turned deluxe sky-cocoon – Daily News

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It’s built with thick concrete walls to withstand a wheat explosion, yet this Inner West apartment feels as cosy as a “cocoon in the sky” – with 270 degree views.

The “skyhome,” in one of Newtown’s most unique apartment buildings, is set to go under the hammer following a complete renovation by its architect owner.

Part of the historic Crago Flour Mills, the three bedroom apartment is built into the top level of the six concrete silos that were originally used to store wheat.

The building, including its concrete silos and wooden bins, was converted into 63 residential apartments in 2005 with the addition of a three-storey metal-clad “crown.”

40/1 Gladstone St, Newtown is up for auction.


Windows and doors were cut into the silos to connect them in different groupings depending on the design of each apartment.

The landmark mill was constructed in 1896 for settler Francis Crago.

The solid concrete silos were added in the 1930s for the safe storage of wheat, which has been known to explode when kept in confined spaces.

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The silos have been a local landmark for about 90 years.


In 2006 the conversion won two National Trust awards for conservation, energy management and adaptive reuse, as well as the Marrickville Council Medal for Conservation.

The apartment at 40/1 Gladstone St makes use of three of the original concrete silos to create a circular floorplan that includes a separate living room, a kitchen and three bedrooms.

Considered a penthouse despite not being on the top floor, the owners have aptly named it a “skyhome” because of its panoramic outlook across the district to the city skyline.

Number 40 is on the top of the old concrete silos.


It has views of the city.


It also has five balconies.


The lift is in the middle of the fourth silo – and since the apartment is the only one on the eleventh floor, the lobby is private.

Vendors Russell Rodrigo and Michael Beckett said they snapped up no. 40 in 2015 after having lived in a smaller apartment in the building for six years.

The floorplan shows how the silos were connected to create no. 40.


The owners changed the kitchen to make the most of the views.


All of the rooms are curved.


The living room is in the central silo.


“It’s the biggest apartment in the complex in terms of square metres,” said Mr Beckett.

“We’re the only apartment in the whole building that occupies the whole floor.”

At the time, the rough concrete walls were painted – much to the dismay of architect Mr Rodrigo, who subsequently spent six months stripping them back to their original glory.

Two silos join together in flowing geometry.


The main bedroom opens to a private balcony.


The couple also redesigned the interiors, putting in a new kitchen, a new bathroom, new flooring and timber decking across the apartment’s five balconies.

They said their favourite thing about living in the silos was the circular geometry and its north facing aspect across the city skyline.


Perfect for entertaining.


“It’s like being in a cocoon in the sky,” Mr Rodrigo said.

“It’s a very different feeling moving in the curves. It’s a very gentle movement – a flow if you like.”

The apartment is listed with Shaun Stoker and Timothy Gorring at Ray White Surry Hills, Alexandria, Glebe, Erskinville and set to go to auction on July 16 with a guide of $2m.

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