London Water Tower Upcycled into Townhouse

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Tom Dixon, water tower, london

Photo: David Hawgood

Written by Matt Hickman, Mother Nature Network

Just when I thought I had officially retired my “All along the water tower” series, along comes another eye-catching instance of a decommissioned elongated water storage container transformed into a stair-heavy private residence (hat tip to Mark Boyer over at Inhabitat). And this repurposed water tower dwelling located in North Kensington, London, couldn’t pop up at a better time as it includes three private rooms for rent via Airbnb starting at $209 per night. Perfect for Summer Olympics lodgings, am I right? And, somewhat surprisingly, it looks like there’s vacancies during the Games!

The West London water tower home is actually owned by Tom Dixon, the lauded British furniture designer who recently unleashed thousands of somewhat hideous orange Flouro Bags across New York City during NY Design Week (anyone want mine?). Dixon purchased the redundant, 60-foot-tall water tower and the surrounding land on Landsbroke Grove back in 2005 — once upon a time, the concrete tank within the 1930s-era structure stored 5,000 gallons of water to be used if a nearby gasometer ever went up in flames — and since 2009, he’s been working alongside sustainable architectural firm SUSD to transform it into one of west London’s most dizzying examples of adaptive reuse. And although the structure offers knockout panoramic views of the city, Dixon himself has no plans to actually move in, according to The Daily Mail.

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Dixon’s converted water tower home currently offers three floors of living space — three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a reception area — that have been “fitted out to meet the highest eco-friendly standards” and are linked by an interior spiral staircase. In the near future, Dixon intends to remove the rooftop terrace, plop on another two stories, and then reinstate the roof deck. Once the £400,000 addition is completed, the home will offer a total of 5,000-square-feet of living space. An elevator that will move not-so-able-bodied visitors from street level to the first story is also in the works (currently, reaching the first floor involves hiking up six flights of stairs). And, last but not least, the next phase of development will include the installation of a heat exchange system that will cool the building using water pumped from the nearby Grand Union Canal.

Peter Harris of SUSD tells the Daily Mail that getting the green light to transform the elevated reservoir into a home was not nearly as big of issue as the complex engineering challenges involved with the conversion. “The local council got behind the idea from the start. They wanted to keep the tower as a landmark structure to mark the entry to the borough. We received no objections from local residents.” Harris adds that even though Dixon himself won’t be taking up residence in the tower, he wanted to “to create something using this great local landmark — to build a townhouse in the sky.”

Head on over to the property’s Airbnb page to view plenty of more photos and learn more about the amenities included when staying in a converted water tower dwelling owned by a super-famous British designer (no parties, no pets, and no smoking, folks). In addition to the obvious, they’re really pushing the fact that there’s a Sainsbury’s supermarket right next door. For some reason, I’m guessing that hauling huge bags of groceries six flights of stairs would get a touch tiresome after a while.

Photo: ©David Hawgood under Creative Commons License

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