18 Weird and Wonderful Places To Live: Churches, Bunkers, Water Towers and Caves

Water Towers

Water Tower Converted into Residence

Talk about recycling buildings; this is a conversion of a water tower into a residence in Soest, Utrecht, Netherlands in 2004. It is by zecc arcitechten of Utrecht, Netherlands.

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AR Awards: Water Tower Conversion


Water towers are often "formally crude, over-engineered and top heavy" (although there are some nice ones about) and there is usually nothing under them but air. Here is a brilliant use of that space: fill it with apartments! Since the tower is often built on the highest spot of land, the views will be great. What a wonderful reinvention of an underutilized structure.

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Water Tower House by Jo Crepain



For a long time the owner was in love with an old water tower and the little park around it, outside of Antwerp. Although it was by no means possible to live in the old tower, since it was just a skeleton, with a huge barrel on top, he started dreaming of building it into a house. And six years later, together with his architect, he made a dream come through.

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Water-Tower Apartment, Essen, Germany



Lars Tunbjork for The New York Times

We missed this one but the NY Times didn't:

"A decade ago, the architects Arnim Koch and Michael Dahms were working on a project for the municipal utility of Essen, Germany, when they became enamored with an obsolete 1905 water tower. The pair designed eight floors into the tower's base, which are now home to two rental apartments, a real estate agency and a communications business".


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Tom Dixon's Water Tower Home and Showroom


New to TreeHugger is designer Tom Dixon's water tower in Ladbroke Grove. According to BD Online,

"Tom is a big fan of brutalist structures and strong forms, and extruding the cylinder upwards is the purest way of dealing with it," said Harris. "The planners really got the intention. Rather than short, fat and bland, they said let's make a statement but quite a slender statement."

The house will expand over nine storeys -- yes, there is a lift -- including four new levels, with two roof terraces. On the ground floor there will be an exhibition space for Dixon's furniture, with the living rooms housed in an open-plan, double-height cube extension at first floor level. There will be four bedrooms and a study in the upper levels of the cylinder with a lofty penthouse reception room.



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Bunkers

The Times didn't show any conversions of bunkers, but we have a few:

Bunker Turned Into Studios by Index Architects

Often our readers complain that some of the architecture I like looks like a bunker; (see church here) sometimes they are right, such as in this case in Frankfurt. It is, in fact, a World War II bunker in Frankfurt that had been previously disguised as a house because it was too expensive to demolish.

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New Buildings from Old Bunkers in Bremen


There are a lot of bunkers in Bremen and around Germany; after WWII most were left in their original form "due to a so-called "civil protection commitment" to keep the building free in case of an emergency requiring people to use it for protection again." After the reunification of Germany this became less of an issue, and architect Rainer Mielke was able to begin converting them into housing.

The advantages over conventional housing are immediate; "the thick walls create a special temperature in the rooms. In summer it's cool, and in winter it's warm"

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Creative Recycling: Bunker to Apt Rms w Vu


What do you do with a bunker like this? Archivolver put a house on it. Of course their site is in stupid flash so I can't translate it. And they have something else going on so I cannot even copy the link to the page. Why do architects do these things?

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Caves and Underground Houses


Bill Lishman's Underground Dome Home


Readers may remember Fly Away Home, the film starring Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin that was based on William Lishman's flights with birds. The script stuck pretty close to Lishman's life, and even included the round pop-up refrigerator in his kitchen. But they didn't use his house; it is a group of interconnected igloo-like domes, buried underground; they thought it was "too weird." Perhaps they were right; it does look like a wacky sixties out-take. But it also evidently needs almost no energy to cool and almost none to heat, even though it is in a pretty cold, windy location.


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For Sale: Repurposed, Recycled and Renovated Atlas Missile Base


There is nothing greener than renovation, repurposing and reuse of existing buildings, so how could we not publish this conversion of an Atlas Missile base in the Adirondacks into a lovely 2300 square foot underground home, complete with private runway, contemporary fiber optic effect lighting along with natural sunlight rendition back lighting, and a ventilation system specially designed to deal with the challenges of everyday living, including nuclear and biochemical attack.

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Underground Houses: Vals House by SeArch and Christian Müller Architects


There are a lot of benefits to building houses underground; they are cheap, almost free, to heat and cool. In Vals, Switzerland there are famous thermal baths with amazing views, so in order to build close to the baths, the architects buried the house into the hill.


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Other oddball conversions:


Pump House Converted into Green House



See More World's Greenest Homes at PlanetGreen.com

Located on Lake Erie, an architect revives a rustic pump house, utilizing the original pump system and the structure's original ice wall.

See it larger at Planet Green

Back Lane Blacksmiths Shop turned into Eco Home


Downtown Toronto is full of back lanes, and some of them have old commercial buildings on them that creative architects want to reuse. It is always a struggle with the zoning bylaws, the neigbours, the building code limitations on openings at property lines. For something that is so sensible as intensification using an existing infrastructure, the authorities almost conspire to make it almost impossible.

But Andre D'Elia and Meg Graham of Superkül pulled it off in a trendy part of midtown Toronto, in a building that I was in four years ago, looking at doing a prefab addition and just shaking my head.

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It was also covered on Planet Green's World's Greenest Homes:


See More World's Greenest Homes at PlanetGreen.com

Tags: Architects | Recycled Building Materials