FOR ARCHITECT ERIC Zuziak, inspiration for this unusual duplex wasn't hard to find. The contemporary lines and strong geometry of the three-story Los Angeles residence echo those seen in his own home.

A compact lot didn't stop Zuziak from meeting the luxury expectations of affluent urban buyers. It just required some vertical thinking. The wet areas of the plan (bathrooms, kitchen) line up along the party wall, while “transparent” rooms connect to outdoor living spaces on the home's three open sides. This layout makes the house appear bigger than it actually is, says the architect, by blurring the lines and “expanding the perceivable width of the home.”

Category: Townhouse unit, 2,000 square feet or more; Entrant/Architect: JZMK Partners, Irvine, Calif.; Builder/Developer: Laing Luxury, Newport Beach, Calif.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.