For an architect, designing and building a studio for oneself is an opportunity to experiment, do research, and demonstrate core ideas. The McRight/Wagner studios were developed as a model of the “two-story passive solar house for Los Angeles.”
The Studios incorporate a thermally massive 8-inch CMU block ground level structure for the utilization of direct gain passive solar design and a lighter framed second story construction of engineered lumber with fiber cement paneling at the exterior. Together, the structure contains a 1,100 square foot architectural office for W3 Architects with a 1,100 square foot studio above for artist Blue McRight. The building features a passive solar water heating system integrated into the in-floor radiant heating and is passively ventilated by a series of large custom steel doors that capture and direct the prevailing on-shore breezes. Incorporating recycled and sustainable materials throughout, the simplicity of the design and integration of innovative sustainable technologies earned the project a citation award in 2003 from the Los Angeles American Institute of Architects.