Water tower in Bytom. This is how it was saved from demolition

It was built in the 1930s. Bytom’s water tower has been out of use for more than 40 years. It has had the status of a monument for eight years, but the idea of demolishing it had been around for a while. It was then that Przemo Łukasik of the medusa group prepared a rescue project. A private investor would renovate the tower and build a server room in the empty tank. The aim of the architectural protest was to prevent the destruction of the industrial building.

The water tower in Bytom is located on Oświęcimska Street. The structure is 44 m high and was built in 1935 using reinforced concrete and high-quality cement. To ensure its stability, the tower is set on deep foundations (2.25 m). At the top of the tower is a cylinder-shaped tambour. It is covered by a flat roof with a small light source. The tower was designed in the functionalist style by architects from Beton – und Monierbau AG of Zabrze. The water tank on top of it has a capacity of 1,000 m³ and a diameter of 14 m. Today, the structure belongs to the Bytom Municipal Company.

The tower was decommissioned in the 1970s. The year 2013 was a crisis year, when the Bytom District Building Inspector ordered the tower to be demolished. Its technical condition was poor. Numerous damages to the concrete and corrosion of the steel elements were found. Eventually, the structure was renovated and painted in 2015. Telecommunications antennas soon appeared on top of the tower.

When Przemo Łukasik of medusa group found out about the plans to demolish the tower, he prepared a project to renovate and change the function of the building. The building is close to his heart, as he often stays in its surroundings. For 20 years, he has lived in the nearby Bolko Loft (Przemo Łukasik’s unusual house was described HERE).

We reached an agreement with Bytomskie Przedsiębiorstwo Komunalne and proposed that we develop an architectural concept for the rehabilitation of the building, and then together we would look for an investor ready to buy the building and invest in it,” Przemo Łukasik recalls.

His aim was to prevent the tower from being demolished. A concept has been developed which involves creating a server room in the tower and building a small office at the base. The hollow cylinder would house the infrastructure for the servers. The ceilings are to be surrounded by an openwork screen of gratings. In this way, the studio wanted to give the industrial building a modern revival.

An empty reinforced concrete tank is surrounded by a second one that has no access to light. As a result, it accumulates a large volume of cool air. Such air could cool the servers and reduce the mechanical air conditioning support.

The concept prepared was in the form of an architectural protest. Its purpose was to stimulate the imagination of potential investors and block the demolition of the structure. Eleven years have passed since the project was conceived. An investor has not been found, but Bytom’s water tower has not disappeared from the city’s landscape. In 2016, the tower was entered in the register of historical monuments.

This is not the medusa group’s only architectural protest. We previously described the story of the Krystyna Shaft, which this year found an investor ready to breathe new life into the historic building. You can read about how the Krystyna Shaft will change in our article HERE.

source: medusa group

Read also: Medusa Group | Metamorphosis | Renovation | History | Bytom | whiteMAD on Instagram

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