messner architectss 20/A doubles as home and art studio in Italy


20/a by messner architects

Italian workshop Messner Architects has restored and redesigned a historic 3-storey building lodge20/A, to build the family home and design studio of artist Hannes Egger in the historic old town of Lana, Italy. The exterior of the structure, somewhat frozen in time, appears almost unchanged since 1908 when it was captured in a painting of the historic square by artist Wassily Kandinsky. Meanwhile, the interior of the studio expresses a more modern, minimal and bright interior with smooth white and light wood surfaces, which encourage creativity. Ten years ago, the two upper floors were restored to habitable condition, and in 2019, the ground floor, which housed a former workshop, was remodeled by Messner Architects. Now Hannes Egger resides in the two renovated upper floors with his family, while the ground floor functions as his flexible art studio.

all pictures of Karina Castro

family home and art studio of hannes egger

The Egger family home, located in the heart of Lana at Am Gries 20/A, faces a charming little town square to the west. Messner Architects primarily retains the original traditional elevation and charm of the structure, in keeping with its surrounding historic surroundings. The italian architects combine a modest façade with openwork windows, a gabled gable roof and a semicircular entrance portal. A wooden door which once opened the house to the square is replaced by an arched door covered in copper. As for the east facade, oriented and overlooking the garden, expresses a more cozy aspect with a staircase and a wooden balcony.

The first and second floors, where the Egger family now resides, were rebuilt and made habitable about ten years ago, and in 2019 Messner Architects recovered the ground floor which was originally used as workshop, transforming it into a studio for the artist. The floor was drained, insulated and fitted with underfloor heating. Like the upper levels of the house, here too the interior of the building envelope is made up of a ventilated timber frame structure.

Messner's architects
the facade overlooks the garden, with a wooden staircase and a balcony

the house is perched along a historic square in the Italian town

To the artist Hannes Egger, ‘the studio is a space where both thought and creation take place, a place to take refuge and seek a connection with the world’. Thus, the distribution of Messner Architects’ spaces is designed around a central studio module with an interior bathroom anchored in the existing framework. On its three remaining sides, the rooms surrounding the module serve a variety of needs, including spaces for exhibitions, workshops, practice and study. Modular and multi-purpose, they can also serve as a social space for organizing meetings. A new door connects the studio to the small side annex which now serves as a workshop, storage and bicycle shelter. Meanwhile, a suspended installation grid extending from the garden side to the courtyard simultaneously functions as a lighting element. Along the south side of the studio, a previously existing opening to the garden from the kitchen unit has been extended and replaced with a generous glass door which illuminates the studio with more daylight.

“From the outside, the house appears formerly unchanged, in fact, one would think that it has gracefully surrendered to the hands of time”, comment the architects of Messner Architects.Once inside, however, one has the impression of having entered a parallel universe removed from the immediate context. There is only one point inside where our gaze meets the ancient wall, thus bringing the space, its artist and its visitors, back into the context of the house of Am Gries 20/A.’

Messner's architects
Messner Architects designs 20/A for Hannes Egger and his family

Messner's architects
the new copper door to the east replaces the old wooden door

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