Erin Moore of FLOAT Architectural Research and Design, based in Tucson, Arizona, designed a 70-square-foot writer’s retreat in Wren, Oregon, for her mother, Kathleen Dean Moore, a nature writer and professor of philosophy at nearby Oregon State University. The elder Moore wanted a small studio in which to work and observe the delicate wetland ecosystem on the banks of the Marys River. Enlisting her daughter’s design expertise, her professor husband’s carpentry savoir faire, the aid of friends, and a front loader, Kathleen and her crew erected the structure in September 2007. Photo by Gary Tarleton. Totally off the grid—Kathleen forgoes the computer and writes by hand when she's there—the Watershed was designed to tread as lightly on the fragile ecosystem as the wild turkeys and Western pond turtles that live nearby.