These behemoths of steel, iron, or concrete can often be seen for miles around. They’re fixtures in the landscape, providing a sight along with the service of holding potable water reserves that can provide adequate water pressure to surrounding homes. While many are simple in design—you might even say mundane—others stand out as wonders of art, architecture, and engineering. (And some are shaped like giant food.)
In Holmdel, New Jersey, stands a water tower that appears as if it was sliced in half. The oddly shaped Bell Laboratories Transistor Water Tower is a tribute to the invention of the transistor in 1947 by William Shockley, which occurred right at this location. A staple of the Rochester, Minnesota skyline since 1931 has been a giant stalk of corn. The 151-foot-tall Corn Water Tower once served a local cannery but now stands as a symbol of Rochester’s agricultural roots.
From a spaceship-shaped tower in a Brazilian town obsessed with UFOs to a Brutalist design in suburban South Africa, here are 15 water towers worth looking up to see.