London’s water tank apartment: A conversion story


In the heart of Bethnal Green, at the top of the UK’s first Brutalist high rise building, is a unique property.

Let’s have a look at this surprising and creative conversion.

A conversion from one function to another

These 60 square metres of space once housed an unused water tank. That was until architect Brian Heron saw the potential for a home.

The most notable characteristic of the flat is perhaps the walls and ceiling. They are constructed from OSB (that is, oriented strand board), which are panels made from layers of pressed and glued together wood flakes.

The microcement polished concrete floors and exposed pipework add to the modern functionalist style.

The conversion was completed in 2017. The project won the Best Historic Intervention category at the NLA’s Don’t Move Improve Awards 2018, the Young Architect award at the AIA UK Awards 2018 and was shortlisted for a RIBA London Award.

The apartment is situated across the two top floors of a 16-storey building. The first level houses the open plan living room and kitchen area. The second level has a bedroom and bathroom.

Here’s a little more about the building itself…

Keeling House

Keeling House in Bethnal Green is a Grade II-listed high rise.

It was designed in 1955 by eminent British architect Sir Denys Lasdun, whose work includes the Royal National Theatre on London’s South Bank.

It was completed in 1959 and originally served as council housing. Today, all flats are privately owned.

For sale

After it’s conversion in 2016, the penthouse was sold the following year. It is now up for sale once more.

Positioned on the east-west axis, the apartment has much natural light for most of the day. It boasts double aspect views across the London’s skyline.

In the east-facing bedroom, the sunrise can be taken in, and with a skylight directly above the bed, the stars can be watched on clear nights.

The windows are full-height glazed screens with sandblasted louvres for added privacy.

Though the apartment is small, there is plenty of clever built-in storage to make the most of every inch.

The flat is on the market for £570,000 with Aucoot. Click for pictures.