Industrial archaeology: the silos of Castidas

Location: Olia Speciosa
Designer: Arch. Salvatore Cabras
Project: Museum of the territory and traditions
Client: Castiadas Council, Sardinia, Italy
Project work: Arch. Salvatore Cabras, Arch. Francesca Chessa
In cooperation with: Arch. Francesca Chessa, Dott. Arch. Elisabetta Cabras
Building execution: Pilloni srl di Collinas
Steel works: Cabitza Lavorazioni Metalliche, Cagliari
Steel systems for doors and windows: Palladio SpA.
Photos: Studio Arch. Salvatore Cabras di Baunei-S. Maria
The work that has been carried out will enable the public to use this fascinating building when it soon becomes a museum.

Sardinia is much more than the wonderful coastlines that we all love, as it conceals vast ranges of fascinating sites, often inland and therefore more difficult to discover.
Cagliari Council has now set aside funds for the recovery of an abandoned area near to the town of Castiadas, addressed to converting it into a service centre. The area houses the ancient silos belonging to Olia Speciosa, on a strategic site near to the junction of the new SS 125 highway, and it will soon become a recreation centre thanks to the opening of the regional museum.
The silos were originally built in 1958 for cereal storage for the local producers, and they continued to be used over the years as the countryside was slowly abandoned by the people until they finally fell into disuse. The preservative restoration work on the building plays a central role in the tourist-cultural conversion of the area, and the building has been converted without changing its original appearance to safeguard the identity of the materials and the site.
It is a very impressive building measuring 29 meters at the highest part of the building, and comprises 6 iron tower silos measuring 4.5 meters in diameter and 24 meters tall. They are covered by an iron framework to hold up the two slope glass roof, which has been totally destroyed. The analysis of the preservation level revealed serious static problems and the total deterioration and lack of certain parts. The work that has been carried out will enable the public to use this fascinating building when it soon becomes a museum.
The safety of the building and all the various renovation and replacement work of the deteriorated parts were carried out focusing on protecting the identity of this extremely fascinating industrial architecture, to ensure it endures over the years. To achieve this, the various materials were chosen to ensure they respected the building’s identity, with steel being the dominating element throughout.
A glaring example are the window and doorframes, which have been removed and replaced with new galvanised steel tubular profiles, with a powder painted finish. This system of frames recalls the lines of the antique iron bars, and fully restores the appearance of the old iron frames, but with extremely narrow profiles and a cutting edge technology applied to insulation, tightness, functions and enduring strength in line with modern styles and current regulations.
Now, in the heart of the Sardinian countryside, we can admire these silos, which seem unchanged even after 50 years and which bear witness to a very fascinating and eventful rural past.

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Acciaio Arte Architettura 11