Structural Engineer: Don Johnston PE
Building Area: 1920 gsf / 1584 nsf
Cost Per Square Foot: $80 gsf / $96 nsf
Construction Cost: $154,000
Text description provided by the architects. An architect led design-build project, MOOD RING HOUSE is a low-cost ($80/sf) single family live-work house.
Located in an eclectic neighborhood in walking distance from the city center of Fayetteville, Arkansas, the design is born out of a mix of site limitations and opportunities, economic constraints, and programmatic requirements. With a skewed alignment to the lot lines, the siting preserves two established monumental Catalpa trees, orienting the house to take advantage of north light from a clerestory, and south and west facing views of the immediate forest and the distant mountains, all while fronting the main intersection near the property. Work functions are consolidated at grade, with a majority of living spaces above. The small base minimizes the built footprint to preserve existing trees and reduce foundation costs, which are at a premium in the unstable Arkansas soil. The cantilevers, in concert with the dramatically sloping site, give unique views of the natural landscape to each living space, creating a private enclave amidst the tree canopy. Beneath overhangs are a carport on the west-facing front and an outdoor room on the east-facing rear. The shed roof, when coupled with an inverted truss profile, floods the interior volume with natural light.
Interiors are articulated and finished to enhance the expansive and overlapping relationship between spaces. A limited palette of whites and light woods are carried throughout the interior. Details throughout leave corners open to imply interlocking spatial relationships.
To keep costs down, the house is constructed primarily of generic, off-the-shelf materials, detailed to mask their humble character. The exterior envelope is primarily prefinished Hardi Panel and twin-wall polycarbonate. Panels were used in nominal dimensions to minimize labor costs during installation. Reglets between panels are inexpensive roof trim, painted to match the siding finish. Roofing is metal galvalume. The upper level windows are sliding patio doors and sidelights with interior steel and chain link railings. Cantilevers are accomplished with continual LVLs and engineered joists spanning between. The symmetrical balance of the cantilevers and the relatively limited amount of openings effectively turn the upper level into a box beam.
The Mood Ring House explores how architecture can have different day and night presences with distinct experiential and spatial qualities. During the day, because of the site orientation and subtle material palette, the architecture has a demure character despite its distinct massing. At night, illuminated soffits construct volumes out of projecting colored light from concealed energy efficient LED fixtures. Colors are derived from the temperament of the house and directly by the owners’ desire.
Following the completion of the Mood Ring House, nearby home owners have begun to equip their porch lamps on with multi-colored LED bulbs, transforming the neighborhood into a Rainbow Light District.