Not every home needs to be horizontal. A handful of daring designers have broken the mold to build up instead of out. These designers and their engineer counterparts haven rise to the challenge by creating towering structures that stand out from the rest. In this list, we take a look at how the tower concept is applied to housing design.
10 Amazing Tower House Ideas
From creative tower restorations to inventive new structures, these 10 homes are fine examples of how towers can be transformed into modern living spaces.
1. A Vacation Tower Home That Leads Up to the Treetops
Built by architecture firm GLUCK+, this small tower house is a vacation house set in a wooded area and its structure is inspired by the trees that surround it. The first three floors of the vacation house only include a small bedroom and a small private bath.
The top floor spreads out like the forest canopy and houses the living spaces where the inhabitants are provided with views of the mountains and lakes. The vacation tower house also boasts of glass-enclosed stairs and a green enamel back-painted glass exterior that reflects its surroundings.
Gluck+ Tower House | Gallery
2. A Futuristic-Looking Tower House of Steel and Glass
The Skysphere Tiny House, designed by graphic designer Jono Williams, is a structure that looks like a water tower but is actually a living space and bedroom. Willliams designed and built the Skysphere himself. He also automated the structure with an Android operating system.
Lighting, climate control, music and entertainment, and even the locks can be controlled via Android. The Skysphere does not include a kitchen and a bathroom though Williams plans to build a small external bathroom nearby.
Skysphere Tower House | Gallery
3. A Water Tower Transformed Into a “Man Cave”
New York-based architecture firm Messana O’Rorke turned a water tower on the roof deck of their client’s downtown apartment into a space for relaxation.
The firm, initially hired to renovate the client’s bathroom, conducted a full renovation of the entire apartment and that included the installation of a custom stainless steel spiral stair leading up to the new “Tank House” or the former water tower. The Tank House, a quiet space with maple floors, sparse furniture, and 12-foot tall window, is essentially the city dweller’s urban treehouse.
Tank House by Messana O’Rorke | Gallery
4. A Towering Tiny House Overlooking a Riverside Retreat
The Delta Cabin by AToT is a small cube-framed structure that is raised above the ground by nine concrete pillars – a design that is deliberate since the house stands near a river.
The raised cube house consists of two floors – an enclosed lower floor with a dining and living area, a bedroom and a bathroom, and an open top floor with a patio that provides views of the surroundings.
Delta Cabin by AToT | Gallery
5. A Water Tower Converted Into a Private House
The Water Tower Brasschaat project by Crepain Binst Architecture turned an old unused water tower on the grounds of the manor of Brasschaat into a modern private residence.
The old water tower was made of concrete and consisted of a cylindrical water reservoir raised by four concrete pillars with square platforms placed between the pillars. The converted tower home is a six-level structure with a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, study, guest room and conservatory. The tower also features glazed wall enclosures and a narrow steel staircase.
The water reservoir at the top is not being used but is accessible.
Water Tower Brasschaat | Gallery
6. A Tower House on a Wooded Hilltop Above a Lake
This Glen Lake Tower House by Balance Associates is a three-story plywood house raised by two metal-clad walls. The tower features detailed steel stairs that bring visitors from the lower ground to the open living space on the fourth level.
The fourth level includes the kitchen, living and dining space and features glass walls all around to provide views of the landscape. Each upper level of the tower house has its own deck.
Glen Lake Tower House | Gallery
7. A Water Tower Transformed Into a 21st Century Home
Zecc Architecten converted a water tower that dates back to 1931 into a modern house spanning nine levels. To let more natural light in and to provide a view of the back courtyard, the firm created a window frame that spans three levels.
The tower house also features a lot of steel, concrete and glass to maintain the industrial aesthetics of the interior. The tower includes a sleeping area, living area, sauna and bath, children’s bedroom, guest room, dining and kitchen – all spread out in the different levels.
Water Tower House | Gallery
8. A Penthouse Built on a Historic Ski Jump
Norway’s Holmenkollen ski jump, used in the 1952 Winter Olympics, was turned into a penthouse and rented out for a single weekend via AirBnb. The ski jump provided a 200-foot incline for ski jumpers so you can probably imagine the view from its peak.
The penthouse features glass walls, a deck and interior furnishings that reflect the era. The penthouse was part of an AirBnb promotion in March.
Holmenkollen Ski Jump Penthouse | Gallery
9. A Napoleonic Defense Tower Converted Into a Family Home
The Martello Tower home by architects Piercy & Company is a Napoleonic era sea defense tower that was converted into a family home.
Transforming the old defense tower was a challenge not only because of its existing structure – 12-foot thick brick walls and no windows – but also because it is on the “at-risk” register and it was important to preserve its heritage. The converted tower home features a curved lightweight roof made of steel and laminated plywood and held in place by Macalloy bars.
The roof is complemented with a frameless curved glass skirt below it to provide the inhabitants with scenic views. Three bedrooms, two baths and two study areas are on the ground level and a circular stair leads up to the kitchen, dining and living space on the top level.
Martello Tower House | Gallery
10. A Modern Home in the Shape of a Monolithic Tower
The Cien House by Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen (Pezo von Ellrichshausen) is a seven-story concrete tower that houses the architects’ living quarters and their studio. Since the tower is located on a hillside, the first two levels of the tower are partially submerged and includes a basement workshop and living spaces on the ground level.
The work spaces and living quarters are housed in the five upper floors and are connected by two different wooden spiral stairs. One staircase leads from the main living area to lounge and bedroom areas on the two levels directly above. The other staircase leads to the topmost three levels that contain the work spaces for the architecture firm.
On the outside the Cien House looks like a plain concrete tower but on the inside it’s all wooden walls and wooden furnishings.
Cien House Tower Home | Gallery
Parting Words on Tower Homes
These stunning tower homes can certainly make you realize that towers are not just all about skyscrapers, urban high-rises or steel spires.