Architecture

Childhood dream realized as disused water tower becomes family home

Childhood dream realized as di...
The water tower at the heart of the project was originally built in 1915
The water tower at the heart of the project was originally built in 1915
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Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland features generous glazing to frame views of the surrounding countryside
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Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland features generous glazing to frame views of the surrounding countryside
Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland rises to a height of 34 m (111 ft)
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Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland rises to a height of 34 m (111 ft)
Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland serves as home to two families
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Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland serves as home to two families
Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland's original three floors were transformed into six floors to make room for the families living there
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Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland's original three floors were transformed into six floors to make room for the families living there
Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland was originally purchased by two cousins in 2012
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Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland was originally purchased by two cousins in 2012
The water tower at the heart of the project was originally built in 1915
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The water tower at the heart of the project was originally built in 1915
Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland's interior measures just 9 m (29 ft) in diameter
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Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland's interior measures just 9 m (29 ft) in diameter
Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland contains two main living areas and two sleeping areas inside, as well as two secondary sleeping areas for the smaller children, plus a games room
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Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland contains two main living areas and two sleeping areas inside, as well as two secondary sleeping areas for the smaller children, plus a games room
"The motto of the architects during the design process was: 'Do not change a water tower into a house, yet live in a water tower,' and exactly this was the strength of this transformation!" says the owners of
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"The motto of the architects during the design process was: 'Do not change a water tower into a house, yet live in a water tower,' and exactly this was the strength of this transformation!" say the owners of Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland
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Back in 2012, cousins Sven and Lennart de Jong bought a disused water tower for €200,000, with a plan to turn it into their joint full-time home. They then hired RV Architectuur to help make it happen and after spending approximately the same amount of money again on renovations and other costs, plus putting in a lot of hard work, they now live in it with their families.

Rising to a height of 34 m (111 ft) in the Netherlands, Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland, as the project is now named, was originally built in 1915 by contractor Visser & Smit and held a water reservoir for the area. The cousins actually used to spend time in the old tower as children, climbing up and down the stairs and playing games. They long dreamed of living inside, so as soon as it came up for sale, they eagerly snapped it up.

The pair moved into the tower as soon as possible and then continued renovating the interior, with additional changes made to accommodate their growing families. One concern was to make sure the relatively small 9-m (29-ft)-diameter space did not feel claustrophobic, so generous glazing was added, framing the views outside. The original three-story interior was also split into six floors to accommodate both families.

The interior layout is now arranged in two distinct living areas and sleeping areas – one for each family – with additional sleeping space for the smaller children, plus a games room. The cousins also plan to install an indoor swimming pool in the tower's old water basin area, which should make for a nice addition once finished.

Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland features generous glazing to frame views of the surrounding countryside
Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland features generous glazing to frame views of the surrounding countryside

Renovating water towers is a regular enough occurrence in the Netherlands that the country's Dutch Water Tower Foundation hosts an annual award recognizing the finest examples. Transformation Watertower Nieuw Lekkerland was named the winner in 2020.

"The basis of the successful transformation is formed by the powerful design of [RV Architectuur's] Ruud Visser and Fumi Hoshino," says a statement from the owners. "Huge floor-to-floor windows looking out over the river De Lek and the Dutch polder landscape contribute to the quality of the spaces inside and fit perfectly with the robust appearance of the watertower. It is refreshing to see that such an inspiring transformation can be realized with a small budget.

"The motto of the architects during the design process was: 'Do not change a water tower into a house, yet live in a water tower,' and exactly this was the strength of this transformation!"

Source: RV Architectuur

View gallery - 9 images
8 comments
guzmanchinky
Those must be the tallest things in the Netherlands! :) But what a view. Lots of stairs though...
paul314
29 ft diameter doesn't seem all that cramped. That's about 650 sq ft per floor, or a touch under 4000 sq feet for the whole building.
Nelson Hyde Chick
It always frustrates me when something is torn down to build something else, why not adapt the thing already there?
Spud Murphy
Damn, if they only spent €200,000 (AU$316,000) on the conversion, building must be much cheaper over there. If you tried to do that here in Oz it would cost twice that or more. Nice conversion though (pity about the dead animal head on the wall though), but where are the stairs, didn't see them in those pics.
Derek Howe
cool looking, the window imbedded into the floor is dumb though.
Daishi
Beautiful conversion but it's kind of tragic they didn't do a video walkthrough.
buzzclick
It is eccentric to be living in a vertical cylinder, even though it's not as slim as it seems, but 2 growing families? They'll probably be making additions at ground level as the years go by.
Fred Enzel
It is amazing, indeed, to see what someone has built a home out of for 2 families, yet. While it may seem eccentric to some, we may not all by happy in a square brick building. In terms of space, it seems we are looking at about 4,000. sq feet (as another commenter calculated). So if that translates into 2,000 sq feet per family, I should think that is a fair amount of room. Having not seen stairs in any of the photos, I can't help but wonder if their design included an elevator of some type rather than stairs which would greatly reduce the amount of space that would have to be given over to the stairways themselves.

As I said, quite amazing and I would love to see more photos.