Villa Kenwin

Alexandre Ferenczy & Hermann Henselmann architects

1931
La Tour-de-Peilz (Switzerland)

CHF 7 950 000

550 m²
6 bedrooms
Terraced roof
Terraces
Park : 5 241 m²

Description

A remarkably well-preserved Bauhaus icon

Built in 1931 by architects Alexandre Ferenczy and Hermann Henselmann on the shores of Lake Geneva, Villa Kenwin is a landmark testimony to the Bauhaus movement in Switzerland. Named after its patrons, film director Kenneth Macpherson and writer Annie Winifred Ellerman, it is a centre for the intellectual and artistic avant-garde.

The villa underwent an exemplary renovation by architect Giovanni Pezzoli in 1987, restoring it to its original splendour and leading to its designation as a Swiss cultural asset of national importance.

Set in 5,241 m² of landscaped grounds overlooking the Vaud Riviera, the Villa Kenwin offers 550 m² of living space over four levels. It is topped by a superb roof terrace offering spectacular views of Lake Geneva and the mountain panorama.

A short driveway crosses an orchard and leads to the main entrance, which features a range of blues to reflect the polychrome theme of the site. This lower ground floor accomodates the service rooms.

On the upper ground floor, a bright hall leads to a kitchen lit by a skylight and the living room, which is accessible through a metal door. The reception area spans 150 m² under 5 metre high ceilings and is overlooked by an interior mezzanine balcony with curved lines, bordered by elegant metal railings. The room is naturally lit by a large 15-metre horizontal bay window that frames the view of the lake and landscape. Under the balcony, a glass roof reveals a library. Upstairs is a workroom that doubles as a projection area.

On the top floor, the sleeping area has 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms distributed along a U-shaped corridor like the cabins of a boat. The rooms are decorated in a minimalist, modernist style, with armchairs inspired by the work of Charlotte Perriand, functional furniture and Bauhaus-style wall lamps.

Villa Kenwin is located in La Tour-de-Peilz in the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland.

It enjoys an idyllic location on the shores of Lake Geneva, facing the Pre-Alps, between Montreux and Vevey, and overlooks an exceptional landscape of mountains, vineyards, old villages and illustrious buildings of the modern movement, such as Adolphe Loos’s famous Karma villa, a typical example of “Neues Bauen” architecture.

A Bauhaus architecture

The Kenwin villa is part of the Bauhaus movement that developed in Germany in the 1920s, under the aegis of Walter Gropius, and achieved an international legacy.
With its white, geometric silhouette, its stylistic purity and its topographical location, it seems to have been directly inspired by the Haus am Rupenhorn by architects Hans and Wassili Luckhardt and Alfons Anker, a landmark work of New Objectivity in architecture.

Hugging the slope of the land, the house features a functional volumetry, combining rectilinear and curvilinear lines: the semi-circular turret housing the main staircase contrasts with the parallelepiped accommodating the living spaces.

The building is a perfect demonstration of a famous doctrine of the Bauhaus School, enunciated by the architect Louis Sullivan: “form follows function”.

Inhabiting the synthesis of the arts

The attention paid to the architecture, interior fittings and design is indicative of the spirit of synthesis of the arts that permeated the culture of the avant-garde of European modernity, and in particular the Bauhaus.
In addition to the architectural plan drawn up by Alexandre Ferenczy, the interior design programme also plays a key role, as evidenced by the extensive correspondence between Winifred Bryher and Hermann Henselmann on the subject. Henselmann imported paintings, linoleum, prefabricated furniture and a series of lamps manufactured in Berlin from Germany.

The living room furniture echoes the work of Charlotte Perriand, particularly her LC4 chaise longue, and her philosophy that functional furniture should follow the natural shape of the body.

An exemplary restoration

In 1987, architect Giovanni Pezzoli restored the Villa Kenwin to its original splendour, faithfully recreating the poetic character of this complex overlooking the Lake Geneva, with its pure volumes and modern lines. The success of this restoration lies in the fact that “it has been saved and remains as a witness”. Giovanni Pezzoli gives the villa its memorial dimension, testifying to the avant-garde architecture that flourished in this region of the canton of Vaud.

The restoration, which has been widely acclaimed, has led to the house being listed as a Swiss “property of national importance”, giving it protection in view of its heritage value.

Two modern architects

Alexandre Ferenczy (1895-1931) was a Hungarian architect and chief decorator. He studied applied arts in Budapest and Vienna, before becoming a set designer and chief decorator for Hungarian cinema. At the end of the 1920s, he designed the plans for the Villa Kenwin, which was built by Hermann Henselmann.

Hermann Henselmann (1905-1995) was a German architect and politician. After training as a carpenter and then studying architecture, he joined Léo Nachtlicht’s architectural studio in 1928. It was at this time that he met Alexandre Ferenczy. After the construction of the Villa Kenwin in 1931, he opened his own architectural studio in Berlin. His career really took off after the war in 1945, when the Communist regime was established in Germany. He carried out numerous projects in the fields of land reform, education and culture. From 1953 to 1958, he was Chief Architect of Greater Berlin and Chief Architect of the Institute for Special Buildings at the GDR Academy of Architecture. Until 1967, he headed the Institut für Typenprojektierung (VEB) für industrielles Bauen and, from 1967 until his retirement in 1972, the Institut für Städtebau und Architektur at the Bauakademie.

Technical info

Asking price: CHF 7,950,000
Fees payable by the vendor

Full ownership
Property tax : NC

DPE EN COURS

Additional information

Prix de vente

7 950 000 CHF

Géolocalisation

Lac Léman (Suisse)

Architecte

Alexandre Ferenczy & Hermann Henselmann

Location

International

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