Student center

Adjaye Associates operated for Rice University’s new student center

Following the other Big news from the student center this week, Rice University Houston has chosen Adjaye Associates to replace the current Rice Memorial Center (RMC) with a new student center.

However, unlike BIG’s box-shaped plans for the Johns Hopkins University campus, Adjaye Associates, according to Rice’s selection announcement, will retain the existing RMC chapel and cloisters.

Rice, who doesn’t usually hold design competitions for her on-campus projects but did in this case, ultimately selected Adjaye Associates from a shortlist of three firms, although the other two finalists did not. been appointed.

“We couldn’t be more delighted than to have a design architect of the quality of Sir David Adjaye and Adjaye Associates for Rice’s new student center,” Rice chairman David Leebron wrote in the announcement. “Drawing on insights from Rice graduates in his business, Sir David’s entry into the competition reflected a deep understanding of the needs of our student community, including the need to support diversity and inclusion through a multicultural hub dynamic and leading which is a central element of this project.”

Inside, it looks like the new student center will rely on wood and other earthy materials. (Courtesy of Adjaye Associates/Provided by Rice University)

From a design perspective, the new three-story, 80,000-square-foot student center appears to rely heavily on vertical streaks – Adjaye Associates has divided the mass of the center into a series of small, interconnecting buildings rather than a monolithic block, but the facade model will unite all the disparate volumes. Rooftop solar panels and outdoor amphitheater-style seating are also expected.

From the renderings, it looks like wood will play a major role inside, and a neutral color and material palette will echo the earth tones used for the exterior of the student center.

The project is now moving forward with a $15 million gift from the Brown Foundation of Houston, and the new center will hold a memorial to ten Navy ROTC students who died in a plane crash in 1953.

Demolition of the current RMC has yet to begin, but once complete, the school plans to break ground on the new center in 2022 and complete construction in time for the fall 2023 semester. Kendall/Heaton Associates , based in Houston, will serve as the project’s executive architect.