MOS Architects

Las Vegas, New Mexico

The modular aluminum-clad Element House sits lightly on its rugged site, seemingly untethered—a weightless antithesis to the dense adobe architecture ubiquitous in the region. The corridorless habitation, with its rhizomatic arrangement, was designed by Hilary Sample and Michael Meredith of New York–based MOS Architects and is uniquely suited to its off-the-grid location in New Mexico. Meredith points to the air space between the metal exterior and the structural insulated-panel system that helps cool the house, “sort of like a heat sink in a computer—it's a cheap way to remove heat gain.” And, adds Sample, “Raw, unfinished aluminum is lightweight, durable, and can be recycled at the end of its life.” Commissioned by the Museum of Outdoor Arts, the guest residence will accommodate visitors to an epic land-art sculpture by Charles Ross nearby while—with its unique configuration and atypical materiality—reimagining the traditional composition of a house.