Award Winning Design
Three architects and seven years in the making, it is no surprise that the tower has a number of accolades under its belt. As well as Kevin McCloud choosing it as one of his top 100 Grand Designs, the house has also won a plethora of awards. From awards for build quality, to architectural design, the house has won 11 awards: it was The Daily Telegraph’s overall winner in 2005 and a winner at the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) awards in 2006. Designed by Ellis Williams Architects, the tower combines the old and the new in spectacular fashion. According to architect Julian Baker, an extreme building was the only way to complement the tower’s eccentricity. “The tower is so distinctive, we couldn’t hope to replicate it with the new building. We would have had to use the same stone and mimic its vernacular; and the two would have competed. This way, there’s a complete contradiction of styles, with the new building matching the humour of the old. Despite its starkness, the house is tranquil. Lighting, both electric and natural, plays a key part in this, for which lighting designer Kate Wilkins won many plaudits and the odd award, or two.
Sitting on a hill, Lymm Water Tower is a family house of two discrete elements. A 19th-century, 90ft disused stone water tower, complete with a spiral staircase that wouldn’t look out of place in a medieval castle; and wrapped around its base a futuristic house that could double as a James Bond villain’s lair. The view from the ground floor is of fields and woodland; the view from the top – this being the tallest building around for miles – takes in Manchester, Liverpool and the hills of Wales and the peaks of Derbyshire. Situated in the small town of Lymm, set in a third of an acre of mature gardens, and surrounded by huge trees of birch, oak and lime, the 130-year-old grade II listed landmark sits comfortably within a pastoral landscape. Designed by one of Britain’s leading architectural practices, the wrap-around extension follows the shape of the octagonal tower, making allowances for the mature trees, which surround the site. Rising five stories above the English countryside, and offering 360-degree views of the world beyond, Lymm Water Tower is the epitome of unique.
The aim throughout has been to blend contemporary design with the building’s traditional features, resulting in simple, powerful detailing. Minimalist perfection: uncluttered, super-sleek, contemporary living, complete with 5 generous sized double bedrooms, including a double-height master bedroom with mezzanine bathroom. The 3 en-suites and one family bathroom are all contemporary, with deep baths and rain showers. Two open-plan reception rooms, a dinning room and a stunning kitchen, complete the ground floor. Outside, have breakfast by the Japanese Koi pond, or wander in the spacious grounds. For relaxation, sink into sumptuous sofas by blazing log fires, or chill out on the roof garden, complete with teak hot tub and 360° views. For recreation, there’s baby grand piano, a home cinema room and a global sound system to die for. And if that’s not enough, there’s a gym and sauna to get the blood pumping. The family can go for hours without seeing each other. “It’s so easy to get lost,” Russell says. He tends to disappear onto the tower’s roof – home to wooden decking, sun loungers, a table and chairs, plants and a hot tub – two or three times a week. “I can sit up there unnoticed by anyone.”
Lymm Water Tower has become a sublime essay in calm modernism, happy in its historic context whilst focusing on sensitive, contemporary architecture when it would have been easy to resort to reproduction or pastiche. The new works in synergy with the old and has the feel and appearance of quality due to the careful and sensitive manipulation of materials and internal space – rich in commodity and delight – the benchmark of good architecture.