Scale, ambition and aesthetics combined in Belgian smart home

A sensitive technology installation delivered highly integrated systems and high-end technology across an architectural masterpiece and a striking home.

The architecture firm a2o is best known for designing large corporate and government buildings, so when it won the contract to design House BE in the Belgian countryside, it was clear the project was going to be something special.

The scale and ambition of the build caught the attention of Woelf, a smart home integrator based in Hasselt, Belgium, who kept in close contact with a2o through negotiations as they secured the contract. This early contact paid off.

“When they had the contract, they introduced to me to the client and we secured the contract for design and integration of technical aspects of the home,” says Jan Martens, owner of Woelf.

Getting Woelf in on the project at an early stage was good news for the client. “I always say to architects, from the moment you sign the contract, please bring us in,” adds Martens. The plan doesn’t need to be finished but we need to start our journey with the client. First you need to transform them into the mind of home automation; ask ‘what are the possibilities?’”

One of the early changes made to the design of the house with Woelf’s input was to provide far more space than was initially allocated for the technical room; Martens knew from an early stage that the scale of the installation would require multiple racks of equipment to power it.  

Martens also successfully persuaded the client and architect to shift the design to handle electrical switching on a floor-by-floor basis rather than from one centralised location. “We successfully pushed for more integration,” he adds. “Almost every item in the home is now integrated including HVAC, the alarm system and the intercom system. More than 15 different systems were integrated by our team.”

This tight integration required the close cooperation of multiple contractors; important on any project, this was vital for an installation of this scale. Furthermore a key client demand was an easy-to-use, simple and intuitive home automation system with an interface that worked on multiple platforms. “Your ultimate aim should always be peace of mind for the client,” says Martens. “Sometimes other contractors can see you as a competitor or trying to take over some of their role. But we were able to work effectively with all contractors on this project to deliver a better result for the client.

“We started by making a list of things that we would need from the other contractors, and a list of what they would need from us. From that we could visualise all the systems and sub-systems as whole.”

Woelf designed the system on a KNX backbone to handle what Martens describes as “comfort applications” that encompass lighting, HVAC and shading elements. A Control4 platform integrates with this and handles AC integration, unified control, visualisation and operation of the home using T4 touchscreens and Neeo remotes. The BACnet protocol was used to integrate the HVAC and Control4 systems to ensure everything could be controlled using one protocol.

Woelf used its KNX programming template for simplicity and speed. The Control4 system is connected seamlessly to the KNX system using the KNX Routing Gateway driver with a multicast connection.

This integration means automation actions can be set up for events such as a window being left open in the summer while the air conditioning is on. An alarm sensor on the window will either trigger the air conditioning to be turned off, or an alert to be sent to the client.

Technology at scale

This gigantic project exceeds 1,000 sq m and includes two buildings and indoor and outdoor elements set within landscaped gardens.

The main house includes three bedrooms with three bathrooms, one guest bedroom with bathroom, a home theatre, open plan living spaces, a basement wellness area with hammam, a kitchen and kitchen terrace, two offices and a meeting room, a washing room, a technical area and a wine cellar.

Outside the house is the pool house where there is a small living area with kitchen and a bedroom and bathroom.

As well as networking and control, Woelf handled all entertainment technology and security systems for the entire project as well as lighting system design and control including integration of Theban dimming actuators, and all the work required to integrate HVAC, lighting, shading and security systems into the control platform.

Aesthetics were of utmost importance on a project that combines brick, wood, concrete and glass and is dominated by natural tones. Martens notes that technology specification was influenced by the need to deliver sleek, uncluttered interiors and clever mounting solutions had to be found to avoid mounting directly onto exposed concrete that features throughout building.

A multiroom audio system spans the entire project with every speaker installed and delivered connected to the central system. “From the KEF ceiling speakers installed throughout the property to the high-end KEF speakers in the living room and home theatre, and B&W AM-1 garden speakers; every speaker acts as a multiroom audio speaker. There are 21 zones of audio throughout the home. Even in the hammam, there is audio,” says Martens. 

Control4 enables access to AirPlay and TuneIn so the client can stream music in any audio zone and Triad amplifiers deliver high-resolution playback.

A mix of Samsung QLED 55-, 65- and 75-in displays were used throughout the property, as well as 32- and 43-in Samsung Frame TVs in some of the bedrooms. Many of the TVs are mounted with Future Automation brackets and sources include Apple TV 4K.

When designing the video system, some of the sources and displays were located well over 100m away, so Woelf chose to work with a video-over-IP system, opting for products from Snap One brand Binary. MOIP 4K ultra HD media-over-IP transmitters, receivers and controllers were installed which delivered the flexibility to add sources anywhere in the house. A robust wireless indoor and outdoor data network futureproofs the home should the owners want to add video in additional places later. There are ten managed switches in the home – including Pakedge MS-2424, MS-12-12 and MS-4424s - located in six different racks, providing 328 managed UTP outlets over the entire domain.

“With the long cable runs we’ve used fibre connections,” adds Martens. “We also use CYP expansion kits to retrieve the audio from the TVs back to the main rack so it can be fed to all audio zones.”

The home theatre is what Martens calls “the cherry on the cake” of the entire project. Viewers are treated to 7.4.4 Dolby Atmos immersive audio delivered with a Wisdom Audio set up that includes amplifiers, subwoofers, in-wall and in-ceiling speakers and controller. A Sony VPL-VW760ES home cinema projector fires on to a custom screen supplied by Woelf.

One of the technical highlights is a high-end stereo zone within the living room that includes a seating area dedicated to listening to music. Woelf opted for KEF floorstanding loudspeakers and a Wisdom amplifier and sub pair for this zone. The homeowners can stream content in this space. They can also listen to CDs here, and anywhere where there is audio provision in the house, through a specially adapted Sony Bluray player in the home theatre that can play CDs. 

The office suite contains two offices and a meeting room. Control and audio provision in these spaces matches the rest of the house. Users can connect to displays and videoconferencing is supported by a Logitech Rally Bar.

Secure and in control

In terms of security, Woelf installed an IP-based system, meaning that the programming, configuration, and the integration of the Control4 system was achieved at an IP level, allowing the team to access all the detectors and sensors in the house. The alarm was also integrated into the home automation system to give the client an easy-to-use setup. This also means that every touchscreen in the property can act as a security panel, helping to meet the client’s desire to make security a priority while ensuring the property feels like a family home. The architect also benefited as they didn’t need to fit any additional security panels in the house.

Three types of camera feed into the security system. “We have normal cameras throughout the house, cameras that are part of the intercom system and four zones of thermal cameras, so they also have thermal security systems on their premises at night,” says Martens. Basalte Auro motion sensors and Sentido 4 fold keypads were integrated into the system. 2N access control pads and card readers were installed for access into the property.

Two types of controls were implemented for the 26 curtains throughout the property: one automatic using KNX and one manual. The automated setup is designed to save energy: when the alarm is turned on, all the curtains are automatically closed so that the HVAC system uses less energy to maintain the right temperature in the house. The manual control allows the client to manage and adapt all 26 curtains to meet their immediate needs.

Remote control access for the whole home was provided to the client in the form of the Control4 app. Woelf is also able to remote in via a VPN and uses the OvrC platform to monitor the system, make changes, resolve issues and respond to alerts.

After project handover Woelf offers a 90-day period within which the client can ask for changes and modifications before moving onto an ongoing service contract. The close cooperation and support has delivered for the client and also paid off for Woelf. “The client has already signed a quote for a new penthouse that they are building as a second home,” says Martens.


2N Stand Alone Access Unit Badge Reader + touch keypad 

Apple TV 4K

Basalte Sentido 4 fold keypad

Basalte Auro White sensor

Binary MOIP 4K RX and TX


Bowers & Wilkins AM-1

Control4 C4-T4IW8-BL

Control4 NE-RMT-BL

Control4 NE-RMT-AS

Control4 C4-T4IW10-BL

Control4 C4-T4T10-BL

Control4 TS-AMP1RM-BL

Control4 TS-AMS24

Control4 TS-PAMP8-100

Control4 TS-SAMP1-100 BL

Control4 EA-1 controller

Control4 C4-IOXV2

Control4 C4-CA10

Control4 C4-EA5


Future Automation WB 21, PS55-WB and WB 26-2S wall boxes

Jung 2224 WH Weather station and WSSV 10 Power supply





Pakedge PE-08I

Pakedge FM-10G-LR

Pakedge MS-2424

Pakedge FM-10G-LR

Pakedge MS-4424

Pakedge MS-2416

Samsung QE55Q9F, QE75Q9F, Q65Q95

Sony VPL-VW760ES

Sony UBP-X1000ES

Theben DM 4 T, BM 12 T and RM 16 T KNX dimmer

Theben TA 4 S ad 2 SKNX sensory interface

Triad One wireless/wired streaming amplifiers

Wisdom Audio SW-1

Wisdom Audio SUB-1

Wisdom Audio Insight L8i

Wisdom Audio S90i

Wisdom Audio SA-2, SA-3 and SA-8 amplifiers

Wisdom Audio Sage ICS7a

Wisdom Audio SC-3


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