written by:
October 8, 2012

A renovation transforms a concrete water tower into a six-story living space that rises high above the surrounding scenery.

“It was dream come true for my clients since they always wanted to live in an house with a lot of character,” says Mauro Brigham, the designer who developed the project’s concept. “When they had the chance to buy [the water tower], they didn’t hesitate one single second.”

Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
Located in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium, a city northeast of Brussels, this water tower built in 1941 sits on a small lot measuring 52.5 feet by 65.6 feet. The Nazis used it during World War II as a watchtower and then it was a functioning water tower until the 1990s. In 2005 the “Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel,” as it’s known, became a protected landmark.
1 / 12
Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
In addition to a hefty overhaul of the interior, the structure received a lot of attention. Mauro Brigham, founder of Belgian design studio Bham, oversaw the interior design work. While the scope of the renovation was large, Bham preserved elements of the original structure so that the tower’s original identity would still shine through. Workers repaired damaged columns, replaced brick joints, and enlarged the windows on the top floor. Keeping the existing concrete water conduits, ceilings, stairs, and 66,000-gallon water basin were essential to transition from tower to chateau smoothly.
2 / 12
Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
The towering structure was converted into a single-family home in 2007. The living room sofas are by Dedon.
3 / 12
Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
Here's a shot looking into the bathroom.
4 / 12
Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
Concrete elements are painted dark gray to divide the old from the new, creating a contrast inside. The entire chateau is coordinated this way, giving it a firm, monochromatic feel. The kitchen cabinets are by Kerlite.
5 / 12
Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
A couple lives in the tower, but part of the space is rented out regularly to people looking for a place to host workshops or meetings. To that end, every room in the structure is outfitted with the latest in automated technology, including electrically controlled blinds, self-regulating thermostats, touch-panel systems accessible via mobile devices, dimmable lights, WiFi throughout, and a video projector.
6 / 12
Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
Each of its six floors has its own purpose, helping to make the living quarters spacious, open, and organized. The first floor houses the main entrance and a two-car garage; the second floor is used for utilities, electrical needs, and other assorted storage.
7 / 12
Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
The third floor consists of a guest bedroom and an office. The use of vertically and horizontally oriented wenge wood—a durable, heavy, and hard material—helps to separate the guest bedroom from its bathroom. The tub is by Rapsel.
8 / 12
Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
The main bathroom occupies its own level located centrally on the fourth floor. The nearly 15-foot-tall shower surrounded by tinted glass is a sort of “water tower within a water tower” experience. Lest you worry about a midnight trip to the loo, never fear—the tower has an elevator, so the hassle of getting to the bathroom in a hurry isn’t a problem.
9 / 12
Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
The master bedroom on the fifth floor boasts a circular dome ceiling. A spiral staircase leads up through the ceiling to the upper level. Here, the application of wedge wood on the floors helps to reflect a warm, reddish color onto the wall, contrasting the mirrored surfaces.
10 / 12
Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
The living room, kitchen, and dining area sit on the sixth floor, which has high ceilings and panoramic views from the many windows. In the center, a spiral staircase leads from the bedroom leads further up to a bridge that accesses the roof terrace.
11 / 12
Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
The terrace—which spans the width of the tower—has dark wood decking and an outdoor shower. Read about life in a Polish water tower here.
12 / 12
Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
Located in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium, a city northeast of Brussels, this water tower built in 1941 sits on a small lot measuring 52.5 feet by 65.6 feet. The Nazis used it during World War II as a watchtower and then it was a functioning water tower until the 1990s. In 2005 the “Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel,” as it’s known, became a protected landmark.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016