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Castles in the Sand: The Art of Desert Architecture

banner Black Desert House

The aptly named Invisible House hides in plain sight at the edge of Joshua Tree National Park. 

Its owners, movie producers Chris and Roberta Hanley (known for American Psycho and The Virgin Suicides), conceived the boldly futuristic, fully sustainable smart house in collaboration with architect Tomas Osinski. Their “monolithic, reflective, ultraminimal” design creates an almost seamless transition between the built and natural environment. The result is a house that “disappears” into the desert landscape.  

Inside, the reflective glass panels bring in the light and the views of the seemingly infinite desert expanse beyond. The 5,500-square-foot floor plan includes three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a chef’s kitchen, dining space, and, the centerpiece, a lounge with a 220-square-foot projection wall and a 100-foot-long, solar-heated indoor pool. 

The private, 90-acre plot, which includes a prefab guest house and even its own mountain, is a world unto itself, yet civilization isn’t too far yonder: The booming high desert artistic community of Joshua Tree is just 10 minutes’ drive. 

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