20/a by messner architects
Italian studio Messner Architects has restored and redesigned a historic 3-story house, 20/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 from 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 luminious interior with smooth white and light wooden surfaces, that foster creativity. A decade ago, the upper two floors were returned to habitable state, and in 2019, the ground floor which held an old workshop, was remodelled by Messner Architects. Now, Hannes Egger resides in the renovated upper two floors with his family, while the ground floor functions as his flexible art studio.
all images by Karina Castro
hannes egger’s family home and art studio
The Egger family home, located in the heart of Lana at Am Gries 20/A, faces a small, charming town square to its west. Messner Architects primarily retains the structure’s original traditional elevation and charm, in tune with its surrounding historic environment. The Italian architects bring together a modest punched-window façade, a double-pitched gabled roof and an arched entrance gate. A wooden gate that once opened the house towards the square is replaced with an arched copper-clad door. Meanwhile the east façade, facing and overlooking the garden, expresses a more cozy appearance with a wooden staircase and balcony.
The first and second floor, where the Egger family now resides, were reconstructed and made inhabitable about a decade 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 dewatered, insulated, and furnished with floor heating. Like the upper levels of the home, here too the inside of the building envelope is composed of a ventilated wooden frame structure.
the façade overlooks the garden, with a wooden staircase and balcony
the home perches along an historic italian town square
To artist Hannes Egger, ‘the studio is a space where thinking as well as creating happens, a place to take refuge in, as well as seek connection to the world’. And so, Messner Architects’ distribution of spaces is designed around a central studio module with an interior bathroom docked into the existing frame. On its remaining three sides, the rooms surrounding the module cater to a variety of needs, including spaces for exhibitions, workshops, practice and study. Flexible and multi-use, they can also serves as a social space for hosting get-togethers. A new doorway connects the studio to the small side annex which now functions as workshop, storage, and bike shelter. Meanwhile, a suspended installation grid stretching from the garden-side to the courtyard simultaneously functions as a lighting element. Along the studio’s southside, a previously existing opening to the garden from the kitchen unit was expanded and replaced with a generous glazed door that illuminates the studio with more day light.
‘From the outside, the house appears anciently unaltered, in fact, one might think it has surrendered graciously to the hands of time’, comment the architects at Messner Architects. ‘Once stepping inside, however, one feels as having entered a parallel universe removed from the immediate context. There is but one point on the inside where our gaze meets the ancient wall, thus pulling the space, its artist and visitors, right back into the context of the house at Am Gries 20/A.’
Messner Architects designs 20/A for Hannes Egger and his family
the new copper door on the eastern replaces the previous wooden gate