January 2, 2011
For anyone who has ever driven a car across any sizeable portion of Canada, you’ll be familiar with giant water towers, often with the town or city’s name written on it, stretching up over the horizon.
Could they one day be homes?
Most people would reasonably say, “Um, no.” But Richard Hurding and his wife, Sarah Phillips are not most people. The couple, who are both industrial designers originally from the UK, have made their home in what was once an East German water tower.
As the New York Times reported a few weeks ago, they saw potential in what was at the time a “shut-down, boarded-up ruin.” Beyond navigating the bureaucratic nightmares that go along with making a formerly public space a private home (in a protected park, nonetheless), the most challenging part of the project was apparently removing the concrete water tank inside the tower – a task completed with the help of a diamond saw.
As part of the deal with Barnim County, a 69-foot high viewing tower was also constructed and is open to the public.
The six level tower has 1,500 square feet of livable space. And the price tag? The tower is leased to Mr. Hurding and Ms. Phillips for about $670 per year (all figures CAD). They bought the three acres surrounding the tower for $100,000, and the bill for the renovations came in at about $800,000.
But one wonders, what are their water bills?