Everyday Architecture


Like something straight out of War of the Worlds, this reinforced concrete water tower was built in the 60s, just when the surrounding housing estate was being built. This massive, monument-like structure’s job was to provide water for housing developments in Menzieshill and Charleston.

The watertowerIt is perched on long, tall legs called ‘piloti’, that splay outwards and taper upwards, that make it look either slightly like a rocket or a jellyfish, depending on your preference! It has been built tall enough so that it can supply water without using power. Instead of using an electronic pump, the water pressure is produced by the elevation of the water above ground and good old gravity.

Reinforced concrete water towers like this one were an important and regular feature of large housing developments, especially ones on hills, with the 1950’s seeing many similar projects underway across the country. The Menzieshill tower, on Yarrow Terrace, was designed by the Corporation Water Department and work began on building it in 1961. The plan was that the tower would provide water for 1750 houses, where about 6000 people would live, to do this it needed to hold 160,000 gallons (730,000 litres) of water. On average, in the UK, each person uses about 55,000 litres of water a year, so between us, we need a fair bit of the stuff! The Lord Provost opened this water tower on 5 September 1963 and it is still in use today.  

Not just an interesting structure to look at and a handy way of keeping a lot of people watered, this spot also doubles as a Pokemon gym, you’ll know what that means if you’ve ever played Pokemon Go!

Research by Stephanie Crowe
Words by Poppy Jarratt
Illustration by Dana Ulama