Chateau D'Eau. WWII Watertower Converted To A Modern Living and Working Space.
Chateau d’eau by Bham Design Studio is a complete renovation/conversion of a 30m tall concrete Belgian Watertower into a single family home and work area.
The water tower was initially built between 1938 and 1941 for and by the village of Steenokkerzeel. It has been in service until the beginning of the nineties and was used by the Nazis during the 2nd world war as a “tour de guete”. In 2004 the Royal commission agreed to preserve and protect the historical monument.
The exterior of the tower was fully renovated to its initial state. Damaged concrete columns were repaired and painted, brick joints were completely removed and replaced and the windows in the floor top were enlarged.
In 2008, Bham Design Studio began the renovations for a couple planning to live in the tower and who intended to rent part of the building once or twice a month for exclusive events targeting people looking for a workshop or seeking a unique meeting place for clients near by the airport. Every room is equipped with the latest IT technology, domotics and the possibility to install projectors virtually anywhere on the top floor.
The finished conversion includes a main entrance and 2 car garage, a technical room, storage and utility, a guest room with bath and office, a circular main bedroom with it's own bath, a library, a cloak room, a cat house, a livingroom, a kitchen, a dining room and a panoramic terrace with wood flooring and outdoor shower.
An envelope inside the envelope, the combination of vertical and horizontal wengé surfaces delineates the guest’s bedroom area with its own bathroom.
A central 4.5 meter high shower was created in the bathroom in order to maximize the water flow experience. Black tainted glass walls surround the walk in shower increasing the sense of intimacy.
Textile as visual separation from the cupboards was introduced to create a balance with the other “hard” materials and enhance the room’s acoustics.
Main Bedroom and Bath
This circular room with a dome ceiling hosts a revolving stairs leading to the upper floor and a full monolithic mirror dressing which reflects the surroundings and gradually disappears.
Wengé wood flooring contrasts with the cold nature of the mirror surfaces. Light reflection on the wood bounces providing warm reddish tones on the walls.
Kitchen and dining room
Impressive by its circular shape and large surface, the top floor affords some incredible vistas to the airplanes landing on the national airport just a quarter of a kilometer away.
The elevator block integrates a rest room, a library, the cat house and a cloak room.
Above the sculptural kitchen furniture, a steel bridge takes you to the terrace which provides a full panoramic view and is equipped with raised IPE wood flooring and an outdoor shower.
The preservation of existing concrete elements such as the main water conduct, concrete ceilings, concrete stairs and the 250.000 liters concrete water basin were essential to preserve the strong identity of the building.
Every visible concrete element inside was painted in dark grey in order to mark the old from the new. This choice works in both ways since it makes the contrast created makes both bright and dark stand out.
Beginning of interior redesign: 2007
Surface: 450 m²
Architecture & interiors
Interior architect Mauro Brigham,
BHAM design studio
Interior architecture, garden, terrace and coordination of the works,
Architect Wouter Bilzen, MUNA
Renovation of the exterior and structural works.
Most pictures by Jasmine Van Hevel, n°2 by Olivier Papegnies, n°1 by Xavier Hang
Bham design studio
Rue du Canada 44
B-1190 Brussels, Belgium