In 2014, OPA Architects was commissioned to build a house for two art collectors. Naturally, they set out to build something artful and unique, and also distinctly contemporary and Western in aesthetic to match the site in which it would be built, the remote desert of Reno, Nevada. What they created is like a desert bluff transfigured into something numinous and ethereal. Hence its name: The Shapeshifter House.
The area in which the Shapeshifter house is situated is yawning, full of carved dunes and rough chaparral. The American desert — its reality and its cultural meaning — was the theme that infused the design. Meant to communicate the protean, mutable and ever-changing nature of the desert, OPA used anticlines and synclines to create a house shape of sharp and constant change, rising and falling in sheer cuts. The 5,900 square foot house features large windows to open up to the environment, a huge and beautiful living room, master bedroom, and a guest terrace that overlooks the vast, barren landscape.