IN: Inspiration

Reimagining the Water Tower

Winning Competition Entry Reimagines the Water Tower Blueprint


A new water tower, with a style like no other, is coming to the west coast of Sweden. Scandinavian firm White Arkitekter has created a concept design entitled VÅGA, a slim and horizontal water tower that deviates from the norm. Once constructed, VÅGA will consist of a series of concave concrete panels hoisted on slender, plank-like columns. The aquiline form echoes the shape of a travelling wave.

By being both slender and horizontal, rather than being typically spherical and vertical as water towers usually are, VÅGA’s design can be said to have redefined the typology of this utilitarian structure. According to White Arkitekter, a horizontal structure is actually better suited to a water tower’s functions. The firm’s concept is thus an improvement on the existing model - and a small revolution of sorts.

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VÅGA was the winning entry in a competition organized by Swedish management company, Vivab. The competition called for a water tower design that would provide a unique landmark for the locality of Varberg, a municipality in Sweden. Additionally, the tower needed to be able to store 10 000 cubic metres of water at sufficient pressure, in order to support the recent expansion of Varberg, which plays home to about 56 000 people.

White Arkitekter’s design raises VÅGA’S water tanks on nine slender, concrete columns. This positions the water tower at a suitable height for attaining the hydrostatic pressure needed for the distribution of water to the city. Lead architect, Mattias Lind, explains how his firm’s submission met the competition’s requirements in terms of both function and aesthetic:

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"The tower is located on a hill where sufficient pressure in the water system could be achieved. There, the water tower will also be clearly visible both from the city center and from European route E6 which connects Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Oslo."

In terms of the structure’s aesthetic, Lind paints a shape-shifting, fluid picture of VÅGA:

"As the sun moves around the tower during the day, the horizontal curvature creates an ever-changing expression of light and shadow. This shape illustrates fluidity, synonymous with the tower's task of storing water, and is instantly recognisable from great distances across the region's landscape."

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Construction is scheduled to begin in 2020 and is expected to take two years to complete. The completed design will create the impression of a wave rolling across the landscape. As Varberg is known for its rolling hills and plains as well as its proximity to the ocean, the new water tower design will be a fitting addition to the context.


Project credits:

Design team: Mattias Lind, Lars Zackrisson, Per Hultcrantz, Daniel Hultman
Stuctural engineer: Magnus Kollén at ELU

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