Perched on brick bases or metal stilts, water towers cut sharp profiles on skylines across the world. Made all the more iconic by legendary photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, these striking structures often evoke fierce local affection – a sentiment that has saved many from the wrecking ball long after they have become defunct.

Architects are now wising up to their potential for adaptive reuse. Water towers are being turned into everything from holiday retreats to restaurants and community spaces, all with a very distinct DNA.

Here we bring you some of the most eye-catching reinventions, many of which could be home for a night, a week, or even life.

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