Watertower / Rocha Tombal Architects

Courtesy of

Architects: Rocha Tombal Architects
Location: , The Netherlands
Project Architects: Ana Rocha, Michel Tombal, Paul Ketelaars
Project team: Tjerk Boom; Volker Goldstein; Iwona Wozniakowska; Enrique Otero Neira ; Enrique Abad Monllor
Client: Anne-Marie Wegh en Werner Bremer
Gross floor area sqm: Ca 400 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Rocha Tombal Architects


Courtesy of Rocha Tombal Architects

On the outside nothing seems to have changed. The Water tower looks like it has been built in 1895. But if you enter the big round brick building you experience an enormous white sculpture; it stares at you inviting you into another world, that of meditation.

In the design for the narrow monumental water tower, where the creation of m2 for the new functions and the internal introduction of a fire escape forms the assignment, the legibility and respect for the monumental spaces become the biggest challenge and it’s most formidable quality.

Courtesy of Rocha Tombal Architects

The crucial starting-point has been the combination of all facilities with the closed staircase and the situation of this as a huge piece of furniture in the middle of the space as main structuring element.

The staircase which forms a meditative labyrinth climbing upwards forms the expression of the new functions and creates a route which offers varied experiences and triggers different emotions. At the same time it brings you to the climax of the tower: the steel tank where a cafeteria is placed. The new introduced form contrasts strongly with the existing. The staircase directs by its tight geometry and the gleaming white finishing, the attention to the hardness of the brickwork.


The most important ingredient for the experience of the space is the use of light. By “rings of light” between old and new walls; led spots in the floors which, like little stars, seem to bring you into another dimension or indirect lightening, each space gets another color nuance and pronounced environment. Exciting in the stair case, intimate in the meditation rooms, serene in the water tank.

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Cite: "Watertower / Rocha Tombal Architects" 06 Jun 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=238588>
  • Alejandro

    Another good solution for an old water tower, Hotel l’auberge, Punta del Este, Uruguay.