High-performance passive house in the desert by OPA.
OPA designs its faceted ‘shapeshifter’ house outside reno, nevada for two art collectors and dealers specializing in contemporary art and art of the american west.
Following the clients’ move from the arid high desert outside of reno to a less remote site overlooking the city, the team generated a house that both reflects the contemporary moment and explicitly embraces the harsh climate of the west.
Inspired by desert topography, the team reshapes the site to recall landform conditions and folding layers of rock — gradually the form of the house emerged with the terrain. Elements of the house slide into each other with shifting relationships of fractured symmetries, local axes, and embedded parallelisms. topologically, the house is spatially slippery, a twisted torus with several secondary and tertiary bubbles of space.
The project develops a synthetic ground to protect the house against its harsh desert landscape. with this approach, site and landscape are inextricably linked. formally, the house is carved from a thick shell, composed either of the natural ground or a two-foot thick, heavily insulated wall and roof assemblies. Like a high desert creature, the house uses the thickness of the ground — both real and synthetic — as a buffer against the harsh desert landscape.