Thanks to the rise of LED technology and the ubiquity of the color-changing light bulb, it’s no longer surprising to find color-changing lighting in homes. And while we sometimes add colorful lighting to our public buildings and monuments, the concept of mood lighting for residential façades usually involves strings of Christmas lights and the occasional Halloween jack-o’-lantern on a front porch. But Fayetteville, Arkansas’ Mood Ring House—which looks like a regular house during the day—transforms into a wild year-round light installation that changes colors like a mood ring after dark.
And lest you think that the neighbors might be annoyed by this multicolored spectacle, the Silo AR+D-designed house’s owners say they’ve had the opposite experience. “The community has embraced the color changing character of the house,” Silo AR+D principal Marc Manack, who shares the Mood Ring House with his wife, told me in an email. “We have noticed an increased appearance of neighbors replacing their front porch lights with color changing bulbs, transforming the neighborhood into a rainbow-light district.”
The house is “an exploration of how architecture can have different day and night presences with distinct experiential and spatial qualities,” reads a project description from the architects. They point out that the house was built for a modest $80 per square foot, designed to maximize the lot and flooded with natural light by day. “At night, illuminated soffits construct volumes out of projecting colored light from concealed LED fixtures,” they write.
I wondered if owners’ interaction with the design might have evolved since the home was completed in 2014. “We use the lights everyday,” Manack said. “The photos show the lights all-on-high, but we have the capability to control each area separately, dim, and even strobe! Although we don’t do that often.”
Manack added that he and his colleagues are interested in how many of their architectural projects “have a life of their [own], and different personalities and characters, beyond a single fixed idealized design,” he said, adding that they have experimented with illumination in smaller projects, such as their award-winning temporary pavilion Super Sukkah and the Hillside Rock House, which is set to break ground soon.
Manack explained that the home’s lighting controls include a variety of programmable settings that select colors at random, adding that he and his colleagues are completing research on how to use interior temperature sensors in order to create varying colors on the exterior. “The goal is to spatialize the thermal map of home,” he said, “literally transforming the house into a mood ring.”