Shapeshifter house by Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects (OPA)

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Location: Reno, Nevada, US

Area: 5,900 sf

Year: 2017


AWARDS
AIA San Francisco, 2015 Unbuilt Design Citation
Chicago Athenaeum, 2018 American Architecture Awards 



Architects: Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects (OPA)

Contractor: Mike Doherty Construction
Structural: Buro Happold
Landscape: OPA
Planting: Delphine Huetz

Photography © Joe Fletcher


 


Two art collectors and dealers specializing in contemporary art and art of the American West decided to move from the arid high desert on the outskirts of Reno into the city. They desired a house that would both reflect the contemporary moment and be explicitly of the West.

The new site, located on a bluff in an established neighborhood, gazes off at the desert mountains in the distance, but otherwise offered little inspiration. Like Reno itself and most desert cities, the subdivision ignores its regional context and associates instead with a generic, placeless idea of mainstream America. We joined the site in gazing off at the mountains and decided to confront the desert as a real environment as well as its ambivalent role in the cultural imaginary.

The American desert has a history of being understood as a place of lack, emptiness, or otherness. Framed as a barren wasteland, a kind of ‘no place’, the desert has been appointed the perfect test site, a place for all genres of experimentation – military, scientific, and social. The desert is rarely seen for itself, instead acting as a mirror for various projected fantasies: wilderness, frontier, and heterotopia. Enduringly mercurial, it is a sandbox that changes forms to fit the imaginations of the user, a space of ambivalence and uncertainty.

In our case, the flat, empty lot became a test site to reinstate the ecology of the Great Basin Desert into the generic sprawl of Reno. The desert shapes the project both as a specific environment and as an idea. We see the return of the desert as the return of the repressed, a resilient ground that drifts and surges to form both landscape and shelter. Invoking the desert as a shapeshifter par excellence, the project began by treating the ground as a fluid material that allows different forms to emerge, then flicker or dissolve into other forms.

SHAPESHIFTER explores slippery form by seeing the ground as a mutable, protean material, an untapped unconscious. We reshaped the site into anticlines and synclines, dunes and blowouts, and gradually the form of the house emerged with the terrain. Then we hardened the form into a regular mesh composed of planar faces. Every edge is entirely shared: no edges terminate in the middle of another edge. This results in a flow of space that supports extreme difference without discontinuities. 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.

Native plant species populate the site, but at the edges of the property give way to the neighborhood plant vernacular. The desert reasserts itself within the city – maybe it will spread. Historically, landscape form has been allowed to be more relaxed than architecture, but in this case landscape informs the architecture to the point that the two are inextricable: another desert mirage.

Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects (OPA)


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All images courtesy of Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects (OPA)| © Joe Fletcher

 


Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects (OPA)


OPA is an idea-driven office committed to finding design solutions that both expand the possibilities inherent in architecture and resonate within their particular context. While every project originates as a response to specific requirements of site, program and client, each evolves as an exploration of its own internal potential rather than reflecting a predetermined style. In all the work, there is an emphasis on communicating architectural meaning by creating powerful emotional and perceptual resonances. Shaping and choreographing spatial experiences through the consideration of movement and formal logic results in work that is distinctive for its conceptual clarity and physical presence. more


CONTACT

OPA
info@oparch.net

2148 Larkin Street
San Francisco, California 94109

(415) 474-6723


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Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects (OPA)


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Glass Wall House | Klopf Architecture

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Location: San Mateo, California, US

Year : 2016



Architects: Klopf Architecture

Project Team: John Klopf, AIA, Klara Kevane, and Yegvenia Torres-Zavala

Landscape Architect: Arterra Landscape Architects

Contractor: Henry Calvert of Calvert Ventures

Photography © Mariko Reed



Klopf Architecture, Arterra Landscape Architects and Henry Calvert of Calvert Ventures Designed and built a new warm, modern, Eichler-inspired, open, indoor-outdoor home on a deeper-than-usual San Mateo Highlands property where an original Eichler house had burned to the ground.

Klopf Architecture


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All images courtesy of Klopf Architecture | © Mariko Reed

 


Klopf Architecture


John Klopf is a licensed architect over 24 years in the field. He is the Founding Principal of Klopf Architecture, which he founded in 2001 after working for a few years at other firms. John, along with his wife and their two sons, lives in San Francisco and enjoys walking his dogs to work or biking to work whenever possible.
John was born in Cleveland Ohio, and is a graduate of both Harvard (Bachelor, 1993) and Berkeley (Master of Architecture, 2000). While at Berkeley, he won the highly competitive Branner travel fellowship for nine months of fully-paid independent architectural study in Japan, Europe, and Scandinavia. While at Harvard he studied abroad for one semester in Nanjing, China.
In addition to practicing architecture, John has taught design at USF (the University of San Francisco) as an adjunct professor, taught introductory design classes at Berkeley as a lecturer and graduate student instructor, and managed a major sustainability research project for the architecture department at Berkeley.
Today architectural practice consumes all of John’s professional time. He focuses on modernist homes, green and net-zero energy homes, and mid-century modern buildings. He is excited about the completion of Klopf Architecture’s first net-zero energy modern house and looks forward to working on more modern zero-net energy houses.

Team


CONTACT

Klopf Architecture,
A California Corporation
2180 Bryant Street, Suite 203
San Francisco, CA 94110

415.691.7227 | E-Mail


VISIT

Klopf Architecture