Campus of Rice University
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The campus of Rice University includes a number of buildings, designed primarily in the Byzantine architectural style. The university was founded in 1912 on a 285-acre plot of land located very close to what is now West University Place, adjacent to the Texas Medical Center, in the museum district of the city of Houston, Texas.
The university's first president, Edgar Odell Lovett, stressed the importance of a uniform architectural style for the many buildings the campus would come to have. The majority of Rice's buildings have brick-colored facades, emphasizing courtyards, archways, and pillars. There are notable exceptions representing both modern and historical architectural styles, including brutalism and Mediterranean.
A number of the university's buildings are arranged around quadrangles, while others are grouped together with buildings of similar academic purpose.
- 1 History
- 2 Campus layout
- 3 The quads
- 4 Buildings
- 5 References
Edgar Odell Lovett, the first President of Rice (then known as the William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science, Art, Philosophy, and Letters), emphasized the need for a large campus with a uniform architectural plan during his first visit to Houston in 1907. After Lovett's selection as president in 1908, the Institute's leadership began searching for a contiguous plot of land up to 300 acres (120 hectares) in size on the outskirts of Houston. The existing property in and around Houston bequeathed to the Institute by its late benefactor, William Marsh Rice, was deemed unsuitable for the siting of the university – Rice Ranch, located near present-day Bellaire, was too far from Houston, while a plot of land near Downtown Houston was considered too small.
Lovett expressed interest in flat farmland along Main Street north of Brays Bayou. Negotiations by James A. Baker, Sr. eventually led to a complicated land exchange with local entrepreneur George Hermann (namesake of Hermann Park), who owned 370 acres (150 hectares) on both sides of Main Street. Through the deal and subsequent land exchanges, the Rice Institute had acquired 278 acres (113 hectares) fronting the west side of Main by 1910. The complete 290-acre (120-hectare) campus was not completed, however, until 1921, when a small parcel owned by DuPont was finally acquired.
In 1909, the Board of Trustees selected Ralph Adams Cram's firm, Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson, to design the first five buildings and draft a master plan for the campus. The cornerstone of the Administration Building, now known as Lovett Hall, was laid in 1911. The early construction of the university was funded by the sale of timber interests on a 47,000-acre (19,000-hectare) piece of land in Louisiana owned by the Rice estate.
In 1910, the campus power plant (now the Mechanical Laboratory) was connected to the regional rail network by a spur line, and Baker successfully negotiated with Harris County and nearby landowners to widen and run a trolley line down Main Street.
Rice's campus is a heavily-wooded 285-acre (1.15 km2) tract of land located close to the city of West University Place in the museum district of Houston. Five streets demarcate the campus: Greenbriar Street, Rice Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Main Street, and University Boulevard. For most of its history, all of Rice's buildings have been contained within this pentagon. In recent years, new facilities have been built within the vicinity of campus, but the bulk of administrative, academic, and residential buildings are still located on the original plot of land. The BioScience Research Collaborative, all graduate student housing, and the Wiess President's House are located off-campus.
Transportation within the campus is facilitated by a small network of roads. The Inner Loop, a one-way ring road, begins at the southwestern corner of the Shepherd School of Music, proceeds east-northeast past the Southern Colleges and Fondren Library, makes a 90-degree turn, passes in front of Lovett Hall, makes another 90-degree turn, continues south-southwest past the Engineering Quadrangle, Rice Memorial Center (RMC), Jones School of Business, and Recreation Center, and ends at the Shepherd School. This rectangular road is bisected by Alumni Drive, which begins at Rice Boulevard along the northwestern edge of campus and passes by Dell Butcher Hall, the Recreation Center, the RMC, the Jones School, the Baker Institute, and Wiess College before ending at Main Street. Other shorter roads connect to various campus entrances, laboratories, and sports facilities.
A majority of parking on campus is concentrated at the western end of the pentagon in the form of surface parking. Approximately 30 acres (12 hectares) of asphalt parking surrounds Rice Stadium; West Lots 1–5 are east of the stadium and Greenbriar Lot is west. A majority of residential, visitor, and faculty parking is located here; other, smaller parking lots are scattered throughout the campus, as well as two parking garages: one underneath the Jones School and another currently under construction adjacent to Lovett College.
Rice prides itself on the amount of green space available on campus; there are only about 50 buildings spread between the main entrance at its easternmost corner, and the parking lots and Rice Stadium at the west end. The Lynn R. Lowrey Arboretum, consisting of more than 4,000 trees and shrubs (giving birth to the legend that Rice has a tree for every student), is spread throughout the campus.
The university's first president, Edgar Odell Lovett, intended for the campus to have a uniform architecture style to improve its aesthetic appeal. Influenced by the campuses of southern Europe, many of Rice's buildings are Mediterranean Revival in style, with sand and pink-colored bricks, large archways and columns acting as architectural motifs. Noteworthy exceptions include the glass-walled Brochstein Pavilion, Lovett College with its Brutalist-style concrete gratings, the eclectic-Mediterranean Duncan Hall, and the modern Moody Center for the Arts.
The campus is organized around a number of quadrangles. The Academic Quadrangle, anchored by a statue of founder William Marsh Rice, includes Ralph Adams Cram's asymmetrical Lovett Hall, the original administrative building, to the east; Fondren Library to the west; Herzstein Hall, the physics building and home to the largest amphitheater on campus, to the north; Sewall Hall for the social sciences and arts to the southeast; Rayzor Hall, for the languages, to the southwest; and Anderson Hall of the School of Architecture to the northwest. The Humanities Building is located behind the southwestern corner of the Academic Quad, adjacent to Fondren Library and Rayzor Hall.
The Central Quadrangle lies to the west of Fondren Library, anchored by Brochstein Pavilion, a coffee shop and meeting space. It is bounded by the Rice Memorial Center and Ley Student Center to the north and Herring Hall, designed by César Pelli, to the south.
Further west lies the West Quadrangle, surrounded by McNair Hall of the Jones Business School to the north, the Baker Institute to the south, and Alice Pratt Brown Hall of the Shepherd School of Music to the west. The eastern section of the quad adjoining Alumni Drive contains Jamail Plaza, donated by Lee Hage Jamail, wife of prominent attorney Joe Jamail, which includes a large globe-shaped fountain and public space connecting the Baker Institute to the Jones School.
In the Engineering Quadrangle, located north of the Inner Loop and west of Duncan College, a trinity of sculptures by Michael Heizer, collectively entitled 45°, 90°, 180°, are flanked by Abercrombie Laboratory to the east, the Cox Mechanical Engineering Building to the west, and the Mechanical Laboratory to the north. Ryon Laboratory and Keck Hall also frame this quadrangle at the northwestern and southwestern corners, respectively. Duncan Hall is the latest addition to this quad, housing offices, classrooms, labs, and lecture halls for the Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Statistics departments.
Roughly three-quarters of Rice's undergraduate population lives on campus. Housing is divided among eleven residential colleges, which form an integral part of student life at the university. The colleges are named for historical figures of and benefactors to the university. While there is significant variation in their appearance, facilities, and dates of founding, the colleges are an important source of identity for Rice students, functioning as dining halls, residence halls, and sports teams, among other roles. Rice does not have or endorse a greek system, with the residential college system taking its place.
Five colleges – McMurtry, Duncan, Martel, Jones, and Brown – are located on the north side of campus, northeast of Lovett Hall. Six more colleges – Baker, Will Rice, Lovett, Hanszen, Sid Richardson, and Wiess – are located south of the Inner Loop and Academic Quadrangle. Of the eleven colleges, Baker is the oldest, originally built in 1912, and the twin Duncan and McMurtry colleges are the newest, opening for the first time during the 2009–10 school year.
The on-campus football facility, Rice Stadium, opened in 1950 with a capacity of 70,000 seats. In 2006, seating capacity was reduced to 47,000 by covering areas at each end of the field with tarps. Seating capacity was permanently reduced by the construction of the Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center in 2015, which occupies a formerly-tarped seating area behind the north endzone. The new 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) facility, completed in 2016, replaces dated training facilities elsewhere on campus and includes a large new scoreboard mounted to its roof. Rice Stadium was the site of a speech by President John F. Kennedy, "Address at Rice University on the Nation's Space Effort", on September 12, 1962, in which he challenged the nation to send a man to the moon by the end of the decade. In 1974, the stadium hosted Super Bowl VIII.
Tudor Fieldhouse, known as Autry Court prior to 2007, is home to the basketball and volleyball teams. Other stadia include the Wendel D. Ley Track & Holloway Field and the George R. Brown Tennis Center. The 120,000-square-foot (11,000 m2), 14-court Tennis Center, located east of Rice Stadium along Rice Boulevard, opened in 2014; it replaced the Jake Hess Tennis Center adjacent to Recking Park, which became the site of the Moody Center for the Arts in 2017.
The Barbara and David Gibbs Recreation & Wellness Center, opened in 2009, is a 103,000-square-foot (9,600 m2) facility featuring a 9,000-square-foot (840 m2) weight and cario room, multipurpose fitness and dance rooms, indoor and outdoor basketball, racquetball and squash courts, a soccer and hockey arena, an Olympic-size competitive swimming pool, a recreational pool, and offices for counseling and wellbeing services. The complex was designed by SmithGroupJJR and Lake|Flato Architects.
The university and Houston Independent School District jointly established The Rice School, a kindergarten through 8th grade public magnet school in Houston.  The school opened in August 1994. Through Cy-Fair ISD Rice University offers a credit course based summer school for grades 8 through 12. They also have skills based classes during the summer in the Rice Summer School.
The campus is organized into a number of quadrangles, commonly referred to as "quads". Most of the residential colleges are also organized around their own quad.
The main entrance to the university leads to Lovett Hall, which stands at the front of the academic quad. Formerly known as the Administration Building, Lovett Hall was the first building constructed on campus. It features a sally port in its construction; Rice students pass through the sally port into the academic quad during matriculation, and superstition holds that a student will not graduate if they pass through it again before receiving their degrees. Today, Lovett Hall contains the Office of Admission and the Office of International Students and Scholars, the administration having moved to the Allen Center.
Adjacent to Lovett Hall, on the northern edge of the quad, is Herzstein Hall, which houses the largest classroom on campus, the Amphitheater. This room is preserved as a time capsule, and still features chalkboards and older-style desks. Herzstein is currently the home of the Rice Political Science department.
The Rice Memorial Center, the university's student center, is located on the north side of the central quad. Herring Hall, which once housed the Jones School of Management but is today home of several general classrooms and the English department, is on the southern side. The eastern side of Fondren Library once faced onto the quad, but has been replaced by the new Brochstein Pavilion, a central space opened in 2008.
With no official name, another quad is distinguished by the fountain located in its center. Baker Hall of the Baker Institute for Public Policy, and McNair Hall of the Jones School of Management are on its northern and southern sides. Further west lies Alice Pratt Brown Hall of the Shepherd School of Music.
The engineering quad is circled by the Cox Mechanical Engineering Building, the Mechanical Laboratory of the Earth Science and Civil Engineering departments, Abercrombie lab of the Electrical Engineering department, and Duncan Hall, housing Statistics and Computer Science. At its center lies the sculpture 45, 90, 180.
|Name||Date of Construction||Namesake||Contents|
|Abercrombie Laboratory||1948||Lilly Frank and J.S. Abercrombie, former president of Cameron International||Home of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and portions of Biochemical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering|
|Alice Pratt Brown Hall||1991||Alice Pratt Brown, wife of George R. Brown||Home of the Shepherd School of Music|
|Anderson Biological Laboratory||1958||Monroe D. Anderson, of Anderson, Clayton and Company|
|Anderson Hall||1947||Monroe D. Anderson, of Anderson, Clayton and Company||Home of the Rice University School of Architecture|
|Anderson-Clarke Center||2014||D. Kent and Linda C. Anderson and Robert L. and Jean T. Clarke||Home of the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies|
|Baker Hall||1997||James Baker, former Secretary of State||Home of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy|
|BioScience Research Collaborative||2009||Located off-campus in the Texas Medical Center. Contains various laboratories; offices for Departments of Bioengineering, Biosciences, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Chemistry, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology|
|Brockman Hall for Physics||2011||A. Eugene Brockman||Home of the Departments of Physics and Astronomy|
|Cox Mechanical Engineering Building||1985||John L. Cox, Rice trustee||Home of the Department of Mechanical Engineering|
|Dell Butcher Hall||1997||E. Dell Butcher, president of American Commercial Lines||Home of the Smalley-Curl Institute for nanotechnology|
|Duncan Hall||1996||Charles Duncan, former Secretary of Energy||Home of the Department of Computational Engineering|
|Fondren Library||1949||Walter Fondren Sr., co-founder of Humble Oil||Main campus library|
|George R. Brown Hall||1991||George R. Brown||Home of the George R. Brown School of Engineering|
|Hamman Hall||1958||George Hamman||466-seat proscenium theatre|
|Herman Brown Hall||1968||Herman Brown, founder of KBR||Home of the Department of Mathematics|
|Robert R. Herring Hall||1984||Robert R. Herring, former CEO of Houston Natural Gas||Home of the Departments of Art History, English, and the Humanities Research Center|
|Herzstein Hall||1914||Albert and Ethel Avis Herzstein||Home of the Department of Political Science|
|Humanities Building||2000||Home of the School of Humanities and Departments of History, Philosophy, and Religion, and the Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality|
|Keck Hall||1925||William Myron Keck||Home of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering|
|Keith-Wiess Geological Laboratories||1958||Harry C. and Olga Keith Wiess; the former founded Humble Oil||Home of the Department of Earth Sciences|
|McNair Hall||2002||Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans||Home of the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business|
|Mechanical Laboratory||1912||Home of the Chao Center for Asian Studies and portions of Mechanical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering|
|Moody Center for the Arts||2017||William Lewis Moody Jr. and his wife Libbie Shearn Rice Moody|
|Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK)||2009||M. Kenneth Oshman, founder of ROLM||Undergraduate engineering workspace|
|Rayzor Hall||1962||J. Newton Rayzor||Home of the Department of Classical and European Studies and the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies. Also contains office of the Spanish Ministry of Education's Houston Resource Center (Consejería de Educación Centro de Recursos de Houston).|
|Rice Media Center||1969||Houses portion of the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts|
|Ryon Engineering Laboratory||1965||Mae E. and Lewis B. Ryon, Jr.||Houses portion of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering|
|Seeley G. Mudd Computer Science Laboratory||1983||Seeley Greenleaf Mudd, cardiologist||Home of the Office of Information Technology|
|Sewall Hall||1971||Cleveland Sewall||Home of the Departments of Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology; former home of the Rice Gallery|
|Space Science Building||1966||Home of the Department of Chemistry|
|Name||Date of Construction||Namesake||Contents|
|Allen Center||1967||Helen Daniels and Herbert C. Allen; former was president of Cameron International||Administrative offices, including the office of the President|
|Cohen House||1927||Agnes Lord and Robert I. Cohen||Private events space and dining hall for Faculty Club|
|Greenbriar Building||Offices for Development and Alumni Relations|
|Huff House||1949||Peter Huff, founder of Dynamco, and Nancy Larson Huff||Association of Rice Alumni; Center for Career Development|
|Lovett Hall||1912||Edgar Odell Lovett||Administrative offices, including Office of Admission and Dean of Undergraduates|
|Rice University Police Department||Rice University Police Department|
Around three quarters of Rice's undergraduate student population is housed in eleven on-campus dormitories known as residential colleges. They are arranged in two groups, one on the north side of campus, and one on the south side.
The North Colleges
The North Colleges originally housed the female student population before the residential colleges became co-ed. The residential group is located east of Duncan Hall and north of Founder's Court. The first North College was Mary Gibbs Jones Colleges, followed by Margaret Root Brown College. In 2001, Martel was dedicated as the third north residential college. In 2009, McMurtry and Duncan Colleges were opened to facilitate an envisioned increase in student enrollment as stated in the Vision for the Second Century.
McMurtry, Duncan, Martel, Jones, Brown
The South Colleges
Baker, Lovett, Will Rice, Hanszen, Sid Rich, Wiess
Rice provides off-campus housing for graduate students at three apartment complexes. Rice Graduate Apartments is open to non-married graduate students. Morningside Square Apartments and Rice Village Apartments are open to all graduate students. Families and couples may rent apartments at Rice Village Apartments. Morningside Square has rooms larger than the other complexes, and is also designed for families. The groundbreaking of Rice Village Apartments was held on February 1, 2008. The units are three blocks from the Rice University campus and one block from Rice Village. Morningside Square has 54 units. The university purchased Morningside Square from Geoprime Properties in 2001.
Rice Village and Morningside Square are within the Houston Independent School District. Residents are zoned to Roberts Elementary School, Pershing Middle School (with Pin Oak Middle School as an option), and Lamar High School.
|Name||Date of Construction||Namesake||Contents|
|Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center||2017||Brian Patterson||Rice Owls football training center|
|George R. Brown Tennis Center||2014||George R. Brown||14 tennis courts|
|Barbara and David Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center||2009||Barbara and David Gibbs||Student recreation center|
|John L. Cox Fitness Center||1995||John L. Cox, former Professional Golfers' Association of America director||Weight room, fitness and wellness facilities|
|Ley Track and Holloway Field||1966||Edward Holloway and Wendel D. Ley||Soccer field; track and field facilities|
|Rice Stadium||1950||Rice Owls football|
|Reckling Park||2000||Isla Winston Cowan and Thomas R. Reckling III||Rice Owls baseball|
|Tudor Field House and Younkin Center||1951 and 2008||Bobby Tudor, CEO of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.||Basketball and volleyball facilities|
Data Center, IBC, BRC, Library Service Center, Wiess President's house, offices at Memorial Hermann tower
RMC and Ley student center, Brochstein pavilion, north and south serveries, South power plant, F&E buildings
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