• Credit: Ed Massery

Gerard Damiani, AIA, NCARB, and Debbie Battistone wanted their new live/work locale to embrace Pittsburgh's urban fabric. So they scouted for an empty lot close to downtown, eventually settling on one with a view of the city. They grabbed the prospect for their new second-floor studio, which has the building's only street-facing window. “I liked this idea of an architecture studio with a big window into the city,” Damiani explains. “It's the eye of the architect looking at the neighborhood.”

The ample glazing lets the husband-and-wife team forgo artificial lighting during the day—a big plus for the eco-conscious firm. Materials also were chosen for their low-impact practicality. For desks, plan racks, a printer shelf, and a model display table, Damiani used maple butcher block “with a thickness that could cantilever, so pieces fly into the space.”

The studio's 390-square-foot layout is no bigger than the couple's first live/work space, even though the house is twice as big as their previous flat. “We decided to keep the square footage the same,” Damiani says, “with the idea that we would live more than work—although that part hasn't really worked out!”

  • Credit: Ed Massery