Seven years after purchasing the water tower next to their childhood home, cousins Ruud Visser and Fumi Hoshino of RV Architectuur have successfully transformed the century-old structure in Nieuw Lekkerland into a stunning home for their families. Built on a relatively modest budget by their own hands, the adaptive reuse project has also been awarded the Dutch Watertowerprize 2020, an annual award that honors the owners of the best transformed water tower. The transformed tower now houses a shared double-height garden as well as two dwellings on the top floors that overlook stunning views of the river De Lek and the Dutch polder landscape. 

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water tower with large windows

When Visser and Hoshino purchased the water tower in 2013, the pair were in their early twenties. Today, the cousins have gotten married to their partners and started families with two children each; the two families of four live together in the 9-meter-diameter water tower. The hexagonal tower is divided into three sections: a ground-level garden room and a pair of two-story dwellings, each with a unique layout informed by views of the landscape. One dwelling faces views of the river while the other overlooks the polder.

Related: Reclaimed NYC water towers are upcycled into a NEST playscape in Brooklyn

family sitting and playing together in a small living room
long wood dining table facing large window

“The basis of the successful transformation is formed by the powerful design of Ruud Visser and Fumi Hoshino,” explained the jury of the Dutch Watertowerprize. “Huge floor-to-floor windows looking out over the river De Lek and the Dutch polder landscape contribute to the quality of the spaces inside and fit perfectly with the robust appearance of the water tower. The motto of the architects during the design process was: ‘Do not change a water tower into a house, yet live in a water tower’ and exactly this was the strength of this transformation!”

kitchen with tall, narrow window overlooking a polder landscape
large blue bed facing a wall of glass

As a result, the exterior of the water tower was largely preserved with the original diamond-formed windows intact. New floor-to-ceiling windows were thoughtfully inserted so as not to detract from the tower’s hexagonal geometry and are screened from the outside by vertical wooden lattices.

+ RV Architectuur

Photography by René de Wit via RV Architectuur