Dream island

Dream island

KNX - villa landscape on the Havel river

On a peninsula near the centre of Brandenburg on the Havel, architects SEHW Architektur have built a villa landscape. This dream for an architect is more like a small residential area than a single house.

Architectural concept

The architectural landscape with 600 m² gross floor space consists of five units that are distributed over the property like an island group. The individual pavilion-like buildings float above the ground due to the proximity of the Havel to the property and are connected to each other with the ground plate and roof plate. Various open areas span the spaces between, from fixed areas such as the terraces, to the gardens and the swimming pond. The combination of large areas of glass and the roof and ground plates in exposed concrete and white micro terrazo gives the whole ensemble its quality character. Due to the particular ground characteristics, the ground plates of the building islands had to be formed on drilled piles, with the roof plates lying on shear walls and concrete supports.

Functional boxes

The different, cubic buildings house different functions: One cube is the main house, the next the guest house, yet another is the garage and technical house and a further one is the conservatory with sauna. While the main house and guest house have an open design and are oriented towards the water and garden, the technical house, the garage and the sauna house provide as closed cubes a visual barrier to the street and neighbours. The winter garden with sauna also has a roof terrace. Here you can gaze at the view over the water landscape to finish the day in a relaxed atmosphere.

Selected visual relationships

The positioning of the individual cubes on the property followed particular viewing of the nearby water and bankside landscape and while taking account of the respective compass directions. The guiding principle of the design was to allow nature and architecture to flow into each other. Using large, opening glass areas, the natural space of the external landscape is captured, framed and becomes part of the living area. The use of natural materials such as oak and terrazo throughout the ensemble, but above all in the service cores of the living cubes, refers to the surrounding, original nature. Tall grasses and shrubs were planted in circular openings in the ground plates outside, reflecting the island motif. The holes are also repeated where a roof plate is above the plant. In this way, the plants should grow through the building in the truest meaning of the word. Nature in the building and geometry in nature lead to an abundant planning symbiosis.


The inside of the building was tailored for the residents. The main house and guest house are designed as a large space in the middle of which a service core with kitchen, bathrooms and dressing rooms can be found. In this way, private and intimate rooms are protected from view and lie on the inside of the house structure. Around the core there are larger and smaller rooms for arrival, living, sleeping or working. In the guest house there is an office and a guest room.

Materials in harmony

The core has been panelled completely in oak and forms relief-like built-in cupboards, shelves, doors and niches. As a technical contrast to the wooden covering, the kitchen is cut out of the core as a metallic element and is open to the dining and living areas. The bathroom on the inside is lit with two skylights. Walls and floors are covered with anthracite-coloured tiles and give the room a dark but still warm character. In this room as well there are numerous niches for storage let in to the walls and the white Corian wash stand. The guest toilet on the other hand provides a contrast to all the natural materials and tones. The walls are coloured pea green. In front of them, illuminated curtains of gold chains of pearls throw particular shadows and light effects into the room. As a contrast to the main living area, the guest house is designed as a place of retreat with white and beige surfaces. Only the integrated cupboards and shelving units provide particular spots of colour.

Multi-functional building technology

The electrical installation by JUNG blends in harmoniously with the overall design and connects all technical functions such as lighting, shade and heating control with the KNX system. Even opening the windows and the garage door, camera monitoring and the control of the sauna area are communicated with the KNX system. Differentially programmed scenarios such as "Good Morning", "Party" or "Cosy TV" incorporate all these components multi-functionally and allow user-oriented, simple operation with the push-button sensors F40 and F50 in the design of the LS 990 range in stainless steel. With the JUNG Graphic Tool, there was the additional possibility to have the stainless steel button covers individually laser-engraved. Operating panels were consciously not used in the villa landscape as the programming and control is done via the mobile end devices of the users. This allows convenient control of the house to be realised without any recognisable displays at first sight.

Pictures: Architektur: SEHW Architektur/ Fotografie: Meyerfoto

Used Designs and technologies

KNX room controller KNX room controller Easily operating philosophy: This elegant room control unit with its graphic display and large buttons combines lighting control with shade, temperature and a Multirooming feature.
KNX F 50 push-button sensors KNX F 50 push-button sensors Form meets function in the designs in the AS, A, CD, and LS ranges. The optional transparent or coloured design cover, the RGB LEDs for indicating status and operation as well as the illuminated integrated labelling field with brightness control round off the design concept.
KNX F 40 push-button sensors KNX F 40 push-button sensors A variety of functions available in the the A, LS, FD and LS design ranges. With the F 40 push-button sensors, the operation of the KNX functions is easily achieved with large control buttons. These can be individually labelled as required by using the Graphic Tool.