Boquet 556-5 New York State – Alexander Michael AKA Silo Boy
Originally built: Early 1960
Renovations: 1998 – 2098
Land area: 5 acres
Sydney based, Alexander Michael is one of the world’s great designers and, in his own words, “the proud owner of this extraordinary relic of Cold War USA. This Atlas-F ICBM silo was designated by the US Airforce in 1960 as Boquett 556-5 or Lewis Missile Base, but for other reasons as well as the poetic irony, I prefer to call it Bouquet 556.”
Michael lives and works in this extraordinary structure for two months every year so yes, it really is a home. It, and many others were built during the paranoia of the cold war. The cost was never revealed but billions (in 1960’s money) were spent on silo construction all over the USA. Less than five years later, it was decommissioned, stripped and left to slowly decay.
To get this in perspective, there are two sections to the building, the Launch Control Center (LCC) and the actual silo. Here are two schematics showing each as originally designed:
Everything, apart from the heavily reinforced and shielded entry, the missile launch doors (80 tons of reinforced concrete and steel), and the ventilation tubes, is deep below ground – just in case!!!
When Alex first saw his new home, it was flooded with more than 30 years of rain and ground water. The de-watering pumps were one of the first items stripped out when the silo was decommissioned. Somehow, he could still see nothing but potential and in a moment of either optimism or insanity, committed himself to what may be, a lifetime project.
There are just so many remarkable things about this project that it simply can’t be condensed into a simple, single post. For example, while most of us end up with a collection of tools, I doubt there are many DIYers who have two large scissor lifts in their collection! Nor do they need to hire a massive crane to lower one of those lifts 40′ into the silo in order to fix a door or two… even if each of those doors does weigh 40 tons!
Below you can find just a small selection of images showing the enormity of the project. The story is quite remarkable and is fully documented on his Silo Boy site (see link below).
Click on any image to start lightbox display. Use your Esc key to close the lightbox.
If you don’t have time to go over the entire Silo Boy site, we highly recommend a quick visit to this ‘update’ page…