An intuitive KNX solution was specified for a stylish apartment building located in the heart of Soho in London to manage multiple building automation control functions.

Consisting of two compact apartments, a courtyard duplex and a split level penthouse in addition to a roadside commercial space, this high value Soho complex had space limitations that demanded careful consideration of services, function, installation and aesthetics.

The client wanted to create high-specification apartments with the latest technology that was easy and intuitive to use. The technology needed to integrate door entry, lighting and HVAC functions, and provide a comprehensive network and AV infrastructure that could be used by residents from day one and also offered expansion possibilities. The restricted service space meant that the hardware needed to be carefully specified.

KNX technology was chosen as it allows full control of virtually any building operation that can be imagined, and provides a variety of different contact points for the end user, with keypads and touch screens available from many different manufacturers. 

To maximise the use of the available space and enable successful installation, close co-ordination with the architect, interior designer and M&E consultant was essential. Each apartment housed a control panel and AV equipment, while still allowing easy access for future maintenance. 

GIRA systems were chosen for room keypads and visualisation, including door entry. A 7-inch wall-mounted glass and aluminium touch screen was provided in each apartment for overall control, with aluminium brown and anthracite inscribed keypads in all rooms. All functions can also be controlled on the supplied iPad or any iOS/Android device, either at home or from any remote location. 

Each room has a discreet Basalte Auro motion sensor in the ceiling – though capable of multiple functions, the sensor has initially been configured to activate the clients’ preferred playlist when entering the bathroom, and turning on the lights at a low level when entering the en-suite after 10pm. The keypads also measure the temperature in the room, removing the need for additional sensors or thermostats. 

KNX controls the lighting, air-conditioning, extraction, boiler, heating, towel rails and mirror demisters. Depending on the apartment, it also controls shading and mechanised windows. The future-ready, hard-wired and wireless network infrastructure is equipped to handle the purchaser’s internet and video distribution needs. 

The Control4 system is responsible for audio and visual control: Each apartment has discrete in-ceiling speakers in each room with internet radio, streaming services and air-play as sources; ample space in the AV hub allows future expansion in the room. 

Built on KNX technology, the robust building management system has an established infrastructure that can be upgraded and adapted over time to meet the residents’ evolving needs. KNX reduces the complexity of controlling the building, using just one interface and simple temperature control in each room, thereby, minimising wall mounted hardware such as thermostats, keypads and displays.

The remotely accessed network and KNX infrastructure also improve the service and maintenance capabilities. Thanks to KNX, all systems work seamlessly together and the simple interfaces make the technology ideal for all including inexperienced and non-tech savvy users.