H2O - Renovation and conversion of a water tower


This project aimed to convert the water tower (built in 1904) and construct a new annexe as well as two new buildings to create an unbroken frontage along Rue Marconi. These would mostly be for residential use with offices on the ground floor and in the annexe.

While the water tower’s original construction has been preserved, the concrete surfaces have been restored and missing masonry replaced in accordance with the original plans. The tank and its support structure have been converted into a three-storey residential block with a roof terrace.

Glass panels set in a steel framework with straight uprights and curved horizontal bands replace the old concrete façade. The harmony between steel and glass preserves the monolithic character of the original, while at the same time ensuring that the apartments, with their bird’s-eye view of Brussels and the surrounding area, are efficiently ventilated and well lit. A sheet-metal sun visor provides protection against the sun.

The base of the water tower is built on three levels with the main entrance and office space on the ground floor. The apartments on the first and second floors are reached via the existing spiral staircase, while a lift serves the car park, the ground floor and the two apartments in the water tower itself.

The two buildings overlook the street house apartments on the upper floors and offices on the ground floor. From Rue Marconi, the water tower can be seen from a quite different angle through a four-metre gap between the two blocks.

To preserve the water tower’s “industrial” character, the paved interior courtyard, accessible only to pedestrians, contains a number of vertical metal structures covered with greenery.

Water plays a key role in the design of the courtyard. The sight and, more importantly, the sound of the sculptured fountain running along the external wall announce the presence of water. The terrace on top of the tower has a floor of oak decking tiles, randomly placed to create a mosaic effect.

gross area
1.800 m2
Brussels-Forest, Belgium