White Arkitekter’s “VÅGA” is the winning proposal in the architecture competition for a new water tower in Varberg, Sweden. Visible from afar, “VÅGA” contains water in a structure shaped like a stylized and elongated wave. “The creative and bold design will contribute to Varberg’s vision of being the west coast’s creative hub,” states the jury.
City-owned waste and water management company Vivab organized the competition, asking for a water tower that could contain 10,000 cubic meters of water as well as provide a landmark for the city.
Water towers are traditionally round and vertical, but White turned tradition on its head by creating a structure that stretches out across the flat landscape. The elongated shape for a water tower is unique in this context and gives Varberg a strong new symbol for the city.
Two narrow cisterns, placed one after the other horizontally, create the stretched profile. The shape illustrates fluidity, synonymous with the tower’s task of storing water. The bold geometry is instantly recognizable from great distances across the region.
The tower’s placement achieves a dramatic and sculptural silhouette; viewed from the side, the tower is long and wide, while appearing very narrow when viewed from the front. As light and shadow play across the concrete, passersby can perceive the smooth horizontal curvature of the façade.
“We are very happy that Varberg dared to go with our radical design,” says Mattias Lind, Lead Architect for White’s competition team. “Varberg exposes this life-essential resource in such a way that it becomes a symbol for the city’s innovative thinking.”
Varberg has several landmarks including a 16th Century fort, a classic cold water bathhouse, the UNESCO World Heritage site Grimeton Radio Station and Sweden’s first windfarm. The new horizontal water tower adds to Varberg’s future image.
“The jury is united in its verdict that White has managed to create a unique symbol for Varberg. The elongated shape demonstrates fresh thinking without compromising the facility’s function and ensuring that it’s easy to maintain”, writes the jury in its statement.
Project: Wavy water tower in Varberg / Location: Varberg, Sweden / Architect: White Arkitekter / Project team: Lars Zackrisson, Mattias Lind, Daniel Hultman, Per Hultcrantz / Structural engineer: Magnus Kollén at ELU