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

Concrete floor, white walls, Bend sectional sofa, Metropolitan chair by B&B Italia, and Arper pouf in living room of Rhode Island family vacation home by Bernheimer Architecture.
Create comfortable areas to lounge, sit, eat, and entertain with these designs.
February 12, 2016
São Paulo apartment dining room with local wood floors and HAY chairs
From concrete to wood, these South American homes enjoy nature inside and out.
February 12, 2016
Custom cabinetry and trim in Chicago apartment renovation.
The Second City is second to none when it comes to inventive modern architecture, from Louis Sullivan to the present day.
February 12, 2016
Kitchen of 1956 midcentury modern Palm Springs home.
Celebrate Palm Springs Modernism Week, which runs from February 11–21, with a look at some of our favorite modern desert oases.
February 12, 2016
Gustav bicycle by Coh&Co
Designmuseum Danmark unveils a permanent collection highlighting new developments in Danish design.
February 12, 2016
A Seattle studio's courtyard
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 12, 2016
Chalet in the French alps
An innovative glass addition adds contrast to a timber mountain lodge in France.
February 11, 2016
Aumas' assorted collectables.
Bright colors and vintage furniture are abound in these French homes.
February 11, 2016
Kogan designed a number of the built-in furnishings, including the headboard and cupboard in the master bedroom.The cupboard is deliberately reminiscent of a mid-century stereo speaker. The vintage lounge chairs are by Percival Lafer.
Need to relax? Make your bedroom an oasis from the rest of the house.
February 11, 2016
Modern Florida seaside home with corian island, dornbracht faucet, cees braakman combex chairs and marble knoll table in the kitchen
Read more about Knoll's impressive career here, but in the meantime, explore just a few of her works in these contemporary homes.
February 11, 2016
Modern small box home in Mexico
Letting the warm climate indoors is a common thread through these diverse dwellings.
February 11, 2016
Modern white cabinets under the stairs with skylight above
What could be better than a modest-sized house in a quaintly historic city?
February 11, 2016
dining room lighting
These renovations connect rustic, classic, and modern design in Italy.
February 10, 2016
12362509 211441865858796 1743381178 n1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 10, 2016
modern outdoor garden room plastic polycarbonate
From colorful living rooms to a backyard retreat, Belgian designers reimagine vernacular forms and materials for the modern world.
February 10, 2016
Tel Aviv kitchen with custom dining table and Smeg fridge
Would you go for an out-of-the-box palette for your major appliances? See how these kitchens tackle the trend.
February 10, 2016
Exhibition view, of Klaus Wittkugel works at P! gallery, New York
On view through February 21 at New York's P! gallery, a new show explores the politics of Cold War-era graphic design with a presentation of works by Klaus Wittkugel—East Germany's most prolific graphic designer. Curator Prem Krishnamurthy walks us through the highlights.
February 10, 2016
Reclaimed cedar and gray-stucco home outside San Francisco.
The new kid on the block in a predominantly Eichler neighborhood, this Menlo Park home breaks the mold and divides into three pavilions connected by breezeways.
February 10, 2016
A third floor addition and whole-house renovation modernized a funky cottage on an unusual, triple-wide lot in San Francisco.
From modern interiors hidden within historic structures to unabashedly modern dwellings, these seven renovations take totally different approaches to San Francisco's historic building stock.
February 10, 2016
Delphi sofa from Erik Jørgensen and gyrofocus fireplace in living room of Villa Le Trident in the French Riviera, renovated by 4a Architekten.
The Aegean's all-white architecture famously helped inspire Le Corbusier; these five dwellings continue in that proud modern tradition (though not all are as minimalist).
February 10, 2016
San Francisco dining room with chandelier and Eames shell chairs
Brooklyn-based RBW's work—from diminutive sconces to large floor lamps—shape these five interiors.
February 09, 2016
Glass-fronted converted garage in Washington
These garages go behind parking cars and storing your drum sets.
February 09, 2016
Modern Texas home office with sliding walls, behr black chalkboard paint, concrete walls, and white oak flooring
From appropriated nooks to glass-encased rooms, each of these modern offices works a unique angle.
February 09, 2016
picnic-style table in renovated San Francisco house
From chandeliers to pendants, these designs make the dining room the most entertaining space in the house.
February 09, 2016
Midcentury house in Portland with iron colored facade and gold front door
From preserved masterworks to carefully updated time capsules, these homes have one thing in common (other than a healthy appreciation for everything Eames): the conviction that the '40s, '50s, and '60s were the most outstanding moments in American architecture.
February 09, 2016
Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016
Montigo gas-burning fireplace in spacious living room.
Built atop the foundation of a flood-damaged home, this 3,000-square-foot Maryland home features vibrant furniture placed in front of stunning views of a nearby estuary.
February 08, 2016
Studio addition in Seattle
An architect couple sets out to transform a run-down property.
February 08, 2016
West Elm coffee table, custom Joybird sofa, and matching Jens Risom chairs in living room of Westchester renovation by Khanna Shultz.
Every Monday, @dwell and @designmilk invite fans and experts on Twitter to weigh in on trending topics in design.
February 08, 2016