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Studio Franz Messner

Some great ideas appear when an architectural firm turns its eye on its own workshop. Such is the case with Studio Franz Messner. A renovated Italian studio that's home to Messner Architects, it respects the original structure while transforming it into a suitable workspace. Two walls running parallel to each other create a storage area in the center of the building, with two mirrored workspaces — with lofts — on either side. More interesting are the "light-catchers" that sit above the two new windows, extending through the roof to harness the alpine daylight and redirect it into the space.

Photos: Meraner Hauser

  • Writers Cabins

    Designed for month-long residences away from technology and distractions, these Writers Cabins — officially known as the Diane Middlebrook Studios at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program — are ideal places to finish up a manuscript or flesh out your script. The four 280 square foot cabins sit facing south, west, and the Pacific Ocean, and are all skewed a few degrees from each other, with a steel canopy that joins them together. The exteriors are covered in unfinished red cedar, each cabin has its own private outdoor space, and the interiors offer great views thanks to the large, sliding glass doors.

    Photos: CCS Architecture

  • Amagansett Dunes House

    Purposefully laid at an angle to capture the prevailing winds, the Amagansett Dunes House uses the natural breeze as ventilation. Helping matters are small, adjustable openings on the wind-facing side and larger apertures opposite, as well as canvas louvers that let in the summertime breeze while helping to block wintertime winds. The interior is clean and sparse, with plenty of natural light peppered by the aforementioned portholes, with the master suite and guest bed on the second floor, living and dining areas and another guest room on the ground floor, a spacious deck adjoining the kitchen and living room, and a roof deck accessible from upstairs offering loft views of the dunes and the water beyond.

    Photos: Bates Masi Architects