The 50-metre-tall structure houses a circular vat for storing water, which sits on a slender concrete platform. The tank is covered by a rectangular metal grid that partially obscures the vat in daylight, but allows it to be partly visible when the tower is lit up at night.
“The 2,000-cubic-metre vat does not represent the continuation of the structure but rather an independent structure resting on a support,” said V+, which has also worked on museums and residential projects.
“Hence the platform offers great flexibility in the event of any future reconversion of the water tower,” the studio added.
The vat rests on concrete struts that were cast on site. Early sketches show that V+ referred to the shapes of airport control towers and the legs of trestle tables for the tower’s distinctive shape. It is also supported at one corner by a single straight column, which conceals an access staircase.
Named Chateau d’Eau, the structure was designed for the Ghlin-Badour business park in Belgium. It was intended as an unconventional interpretation of water towers, as well as a “strong signal” and landmark for the industrial estate.
“The withdrawn vat gives the overhead volume an elegant transparence, while the night lights give the floating vat its aura of mystery,” said V+.
“The imposing structure is enriched by a fragility that is unusual for the strict world of engineering,” the studio added. “It casts a dynamic figure that can be observed in a variety of challenging ways by the users of the nearby canal and motorway.”
Photographer Jamie Young has documented the changing architectural styles of similar towers in a series of images charting their history in Ireland.
Spanish architects Ignacio Mendaro Corsini, Ignacio Isasi Zaragozá and Blanca Rosa Gutiérrez Rodríguez also challenged the shapes of conventional water towers, designing a structure with an uncanny resemblance to a naked woman.
Photography is by Maxime Delvaux.
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