The Water Tower

A leaking four-story former water tower may not be the first place that springs to mind when picturing bright, clean living quarters. But following a refurbishment in a small town in southern England, a land- mark Victorian-era brick tower is now a cozy retreat and “a special place to sit and unwind,” says owner Sheryl Wilson.”

. . . Dwell Magazine . . .

Project & Environmental Data

Project Info

  • Location: New Forest, Hampshire
  • Cost: £250,000
  • Designation: AONB, National Park, Conservation Area
  • Collaborators: Rice Projects
  • Image Credit: Nigel Rigden & Sandra Van Aalst


2019 ArchDaily: Building of the Year Awards, Shortlisted
2017 RIBA South Regional Awards, Shortlisted

Environmental Data

  • Energy Efficiency
    1 2
  • Insulation
    1 2
  • Thermal Mass
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • Airtightness
    1 2
  • Solar PV
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • Heating/Hot Water
    Electric Gas Ground Source Air Source
  • Solar Thermal
    Yes No
  • Rain Water Harvest
    Yes No
  • Ventilation
    MVHR Natural
  • Energy Storage
    Yes No
Internal view of the framing picture window connecting inside and out

“Please create for me a bathroom at the top of the tower that is worth climbing three flights of stairs for.” Was our brief from owner Sheryl Wilson

Our light touch approach first involved removing internal linings, sanding back the original stained oak floors and stairs and replacing the rotten windows. Conceptually, we threaded a ribbon of sculptural metal interventions from the base of the tower upwards. Starting with a new front door, this metal ribbon becomes a new projecting bay window at first floor which forms a window seat internally and offers a stunning view across the paddock – a special place to relax with a book.

Entrance space with oriel picture window
Interior entrance with exposed brickwork and feature light
New metal door and view into entrance space

On the second floor the huge bespoke metal windows flood the space with light from three sides and you become immersed in near 360º views of the New Forest. A sinuous spiralling metal staircase celebrates the final climb to the top floor bathroom, where a sumptuous copper bath provides the ultimate retreat where Sheryl and her guests can unwind under the stars.

Interior of the entrance space and stairs
Exposed victorian-era brickwork interior of the contemporary and listed home

We believe that quality architecture adds value, both emotional and financial. Our architecture enhances your sense of well-being, the value of which is difficult to quantify in monetary terms. Our design skill, knowledge and tenacity also add financial value as the benefit of realising quality design increases the value of a site and maximises your investment.

We believe that beauty is measurable and that even the most constrained project or site can be beautiful. Often, embracing constraints is a catalyst for inspirational resolutions. We respectfully celebrate the ‘question’, which has resulted in our reputation for bringing success to challenging and complex sites and project briefs.

Exposed brickwork and sculptural steel stair installation
Two large semi-circular metal windows bring the outside in
Interior view of the steel staircase and semi-circular windows

The reimagined tower exerts something of a restorative effect on its owners. “We probably spend more time outside than in, with our horses, but when we’re looking to unwind, it’s a lovely place,” Sheryl says. “I didn’t think it warranted being turned into something ‘chi-chi.’ It’s a classic example of ‘less is more.”

. . . Dwell Magazine . . .

William Holland bath the base of the clients brief
Ritual bathroom with William Holland sink in the Water Tower

“I didn’t think it warranted being turned into something ‘chi-chi.’ It’s a classic example of ‘less is more.”

. . . Sheryl Wilson . . .

External view of the Water Tower and new picture window from the courtyard
External shot of the Water Tower and boundary wall