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Midcentury water cistern transformed into gorgeous modern home

A sense of its history has been preserved

The elegance of this Spanish home’s curved glass wall belies the structure’s original use as a stone water cistern. Built up over time atop irregular terrain, the original building—completed in 1955—had an awkward layout but an excellent site. After it was no longer needed to hold well water, the building served for many years as a storage space.

That is, until Madrid-based Valdivieso Arquitectos converted the structure into a glamorous modern home. The architects added an open living space to the top floor of the cistern, which now houses the entrance, kitchen, living room, and dining area.

The arc of the central glass wall follows the curve of the original well, which was left intact in the middle of a small courtyard. White marble was used to face one side of the building, near a fenced light well providing sunlight to the lower floor.

The lower level, fitting inside of the old stone cistern, holds the home’s bedrooms and bathrooms. Because the structure is partially built into a hillside, the lower level has its own private courtyard, shaded by a green metal canopy.