In Steenokkerzeel, Belgium, Patrick Mets, director of finance and human resources for Aremis, built his dream home in a decommissioned water tower near the Brussels Airport. He had been fascinated by water towers since he was a teenager, loving the shape, he wished for that uniqueness for his own home. He purchased the building in 1996 for $43,000, after years of weekend trips searching for the right tower. The 4,843 square foot (450 square meters) tower soars over 98 feet above the countryside, retaining numerous original details, including its concrete ceilings and stairs as well as an immense water basin, minus the water. “We wanted the water tower’s essence to remain intact,” said Mauro Brigham, of Bham Design Studio in Brussels, the architect responsible for the renovation and interior design.
“Some water towers are entirely empty,” Mets said. “But this one had six floors, which, along with its eight concrete columns, helped to support” the water reservoir at the top, which could hold 250,000 litres, he said. “I began envisioning each floor as a separate living space.” After five years and $2.1 million later, in 2009, the renovation was complete, titling the new home “Chateau d’eau.” The top level houses a sleek kitchen, living room with angular furnishings that contrast with the tower’s circular form; the level below houses the master bedroom. The entire fourth floor houses the family bathroom which is dominated by a 15-foot-high shower and a 14 inch wide shower head that generates a substantial downpour right in the center of the tower where the water had once flowed. The third level is for the two children, with colorful furnishings and bedding.
The main entrance encompasses the first and second levels, which also doubles as a two-car garage in the winter as well as storage and utility rooms. Due to the tower’s high-tech soundproofing, the roof deck is the only space in the house where the family can hear the roar of jets taking off and landing from the nearby airport. It also gives an excellent vantage point for viewing the surrounding landscape of patchwork cornfields, pastures and meadows as well as gathering spot for summer family barbecues. “I suppose it is unusual to live in a water tower,” says Mets partner. “But it’s just a beautiful building. And for me, it’s just home.” Via
Photos: Andreas Meichsner, Jasmine Van Hevel, Mauro Brigham and Olivier Papegnies