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The history of the Water Tower in Szent István square

Tendering & realization

In 1903 the independent the royal town of Szeged put out the construction works for a water tower with the capacity of 1000 m3  to tender. The successful tender for the construction of the tower was Szilárd Zielinski’s plan.
Zielinski based both the structure of the truss and the storage tank on reinforced concrete technology, which
was well ahead of his time as no operating water tower existed at that time in Hungary with this technology.
The water tower and the storage tank was the determining element of the just forming systems for “permanent
water companies”. The marvellous ornament was constructed in secessionist style according to the plans of
Flóris Korb, whilst the execution works praise the activity done by the Henrik Freund and Sons Company.
The construction became ready in November or December of 1904. The works took only one and a half
years, which concerning the conditions of the work at that time is outstanding as reinforced technology was
at its initial phase, without sliding shuttering technology, cement mixer or tower crane, the construction was
completed not on taking advantage of prefabricated elements,only on the scaffolding of the whole tower and
pure manual manpower.
The introduction of the complete water tower

As for the structure we can identify two major parts. One of them is the storage tank with the capacity of 1000 m3, which is based with its reinforced concrete plate on the beaming of the tower balancing the bearing forces of the hydraulic pressure on its own.
The other main element is the supporting structure of beams and supporting-pillars operating as a symmetrical structure around its axis. The complexity of the structure can be made perceptible by the 540 rods and 240 intersections. There is a reinforced concrete staircase running through the whole length of the tower. Under the storage tank they are formed between the area of the inner and outer pillars, while there is an inner central spiral stair leading all way up the upper section to the view tower occupying the space between four main
pillars. The speciality of this construction is that it stairs run through the middle of the storage tank itself. The tower is 46 meters high from the ground to the uppermost view tower.
The reinforced concrete structure of the flagpole erects to an extra 9 meter height. The general feature of the tower is that all her component is made of reinforced concrete elements: the foundation, the supporting structure, the storage tank, the spiral stairs, the flagpole, even the entrance door, not talking about the door handle.
The water tower of Szent István Square is one of the first water towers of the technology. It is such an amazing construction that it played a model role for decades. Now she is the oldest still operating structure of her kind in Hungary.

The reconstruction works

The tower operates from her construction in 1904. Somehow the passing more than 100 years left its trace on her causing severe damage on the whole supporting structure and the storage tank itself as well.
The plans for the reconstructions were prepared by Function and Structure Engineering Office featuring dr. Ernô
Körmöczi and András Szolga. The concrete work was done by “Tower Consortium” formed by SADE Hungary and Techno Consult Ltd. The actual works took place from August of 2005 to the end of May 2006.
In the tower visitors can take pleasure not only by having a look at the beauty of the structure, but there is an exhibition with paintings, drawings, photos and photo-drawings introducing the making of soda water and the history of physics, while one can enjoy the view on the city from the view-tower.

Szegedi Vízmű Zrt.